Fundraising efforts aimed at covering the legal expenses of 24-year-old Marine veteran Daniel Penny have surpassed $2 million.
Penny voluntarily surrendered to law enforcement in New York on May 12 — less than 24 hours after the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced it would pursue his prosecution. He has been charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of Jordan Neely.
Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man, died on May 1 after Penny and other subway riders attempted to subdue him after Neely made threats to and threw trash at passengers aboard a northbound F train. Neely had a history of mental illness and violence that included physically attacked people at other subway stations. Several 911 calls had been placed expressing concern about a man in the station “with a knife or gun” and someone threatening passengers.
A legal defense fund launched on the online-crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo has raised over $2 million as of May 15. More than 43,610 people contributed to the fund, which was created by Raiser & Kenniff, P.C. – the attorneys representing Penny.
“Daniel Penny is… facing a criminal investigation stemming from him protecting individuals on a NYC subway train from an assailant who later died,” said a message included on the page. “Funds are being raised to pay Mr. Penny’s legal fees incurred from any criminal charges filed and any future civil lawsuits that may arise, as well as expenses related to his defense.”
“All contributions are greatly appreciated,” the law firm added. “Any proceeds collected which exceed those necessary to cover Mr. Penny’s legal defense will be donated to a mental health advocacy program in New York City.”
Some top contributions include $10,000 from Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, $20,000 from Timcast founder and CEO Tim Pool, and $5,000 from musician Kid Rock.
“Mr. Penny is a hero,” the singer-songwriter wrote in a message. “Alvin Bragg is a POS.”
One anonymous donor, who sent in $15, identified themselves as a “Democrat and NOT Christian.”
“But I live in NYC and had scary encounters with Jordan Neely,” the contributor said. “Danny didn’t deserve to be arrested.”
Video of the altercation between Penny and Neely shows Penny lying on the floor with Neely in a chokehold. Neely was unconscious when police arrived and was later pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital.
Penny was initially brought in for questioning by the New York Police Department after the incident but was released.
Protestors took to the streets and the subway tracks after Neely’s death became public to demand the district attorney’s office take action. Some videos show protestors barricading subway cars to passengers aboard the train, while other videos show protestors blocking incoming trains.
“As part of our rigorous ongoing investigation, we will review the Medical Examiner’s report, assess all available video and photo footage, identify and interview as many witnesses as possible, and obtain additional medical records,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a press release three days after Neely’s death. “This investigation is being handled by senior, experienced prosecutors and we will provide an update when there is additional public information to share.”
Penny was released on May 12 on a $100,000 bond. He was ordered to surrender his passport and barred from leaving the state without judicial approval. His lawyers maintain he acted in self-defense. Penny will next appear in court on July 17.