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Conservatives hail Daniel Penny as ‘hero’ after killing man on subway

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Conservatives hail Daniel Penny as ‘hero’ after killing man on subway

By Timothy Bella

May 13, 2023 at 4:14 p.m. EDT

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In the nearly two weeks since Daniel Penny was recordedkilling Jordan Neely on a New York City subway with a minutes-long chokehold, the 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran has faced calls to be arrested, been denounced as a vigilante byactivists and been labeled a “murderer” by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

But in the lead-up to the Manhattan district attorney’s office charging him with second-degree manslaughter, Penny has found a groundswell of financial and online support from high-profile Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Fox News personalities and conservatives on Elon Musk’s Twitter. Many of them have rallied around Penny and hailed the veteran as a “hero” and “good Samaritan.”

“We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny,” DeSantis tweeted Friday night. “Let’s show this Marine … America’s got his back.”

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“The Marine who stepped in to protect others is a hero,” tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

A legal-defense fund set up by Penny’s attorneys on a crowdfunding site that has hosted fundraisers for defendants in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and Kyle Rittenhouse had raised more than $1 million as of Saturday afternoon. Most of the money has come from anonymous donors thanking him for what he did and agreeing with his lawyers’ statement that Penny never intended to harm Neely, 30.

The right-wing response to the case suggests that Republican lawmakers and pundits could make Penny into the latest conservative talking point.

In the process, conservatives and right-leaning media outlets have described Neely — a Black homeless man who authorities say was described by witnesses as acting in a “hostile and erratic manner” — as “unhinged” and with “a long history of violent crime.” The political right has seized on police statements that Neely had 44 previous arrests for offenses such as assault, disorderly conduct and fare evasion. (Authorities have not confirmed Neely’s record for The Washington Post.) Fox News host Greg Gutfeld said the manslaughter charge against Penny was “pro-criminal” and “anti-hero.”

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