Daniel Penny, the man accused in the subway chokehold killing of Jordan Neely, is the latest character at the heart of a contentious case where crowdfunding was started to pay for his legal defense.
Penny, accused of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide concerning Neely’s murder on a New York City subway train in May, has collected almost $2.9 million in defense money. Penny has entered a plea of not guilty. The next time he has a court date is on October 25.
New York City defense attorney Andrew M. Stengel estimates legal fees might “easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Any remaining monies raised will be sent “to a mental health advocacy program in New York City,” as stated on the fundraising website.
Neely, a homeless guy, allegedly boarded the subway at the 2nd Avenue stop and threatened people, as shown by comments and documentation presented in court.
After Neely got on the train, Penny placed him in a chokehold that lasted for what some maintain was too long.
Penny’s fundraising page is hosted on another platform since it violates GoFundMe’s terms of service.
A 2021 statement from GoFundMe states that users cannot solicit donations to pay for legal representation concerning an allegation of violent crime.
Before and during the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of killing two individuals and wounding three during a rally against police brutality in Wisconsin in 2020, the firm withdrew fundraisers associated with his defense.
Penny’s activities have been backed by conservative politicians, such as Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and Representative Matt Gaetz. The fundraiser for Penny was publicized by DeSantis on social media, with the caption “America’s got his back.”
Support for Penny and other controversial persons accused of violent self-defense has disturbed scholars of vigilantism and its historically destructive usage against underprivileged populations.
Sociologist and University of Illinois at Chicago professor Amy Kate Bailey expressed concern that the support may inspire further vigilante actions.