Marine veteran Daniel Penny, charged with the fatal chokehold of a homeless man in a New York City subway, has received substantial support for his legal defense fund, with musician Kid Rock being one of the prominent contributors. Kid Rock’s $5,000 donation came with a strong message directed at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, branding Penny as a hero and criticizing Bragg. The fundraising campaign on GiveSendGo has now exceeded $2 million in donations.
Kid Rock’s spokesperson confirmed his involvement in the donation, but he was not the sole celebrity contributor. Vivek Ramaswamy, a 37-year-old entrepreneur running for president as a Republican, donated $10,000, arguing that Jordan Neely, the deceased homeless man, should have been incarcerated or placed in a mental hospital rather than being free to cause distress to others.
The crowdfunding platform has seen contributions from over 42,000 individuals as of Monday morning. Journalist and podcaster Tim Pool announced a personal donation of $20,000, the largest one yet, emphasizing Penny’s actions as that of a “subway Good Samaritan.”
The legal defense fund was established by Penny’s attorneys, Thomas Kenniff and Steven Raiser, to raise funds for his defense against pending criminal charges and potential civil litigation. Any excess funds will be donated to a New York City organization focused on promoting mental health.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also promoted the fundraiser on Twitter. Jacob Wells, co-founder of GiveSendGo, noted that Penny’s campaign ranks as the second-best performer on the platform since its launch in 2015, with donations pouring in at a rate of $1,000 per minute at times.
Additionally, a GoFundMe campaign has raised $125,000 for Penny’s family.
The incident involving the death of Jordan Neely has sparked significant divisions in the city, with some New Yorkers condemning Penny as a racist murderer while others hail him as a hero. Neely had a history of violent attacks in the subway, having been detained over 40 times. Court documents reveal instances where Neely had assaulted multiple individuals, including breaking a victim’s nose.
Penny, who has been released from jail on a $100,000 bond, is required to appear in court again on July 17th.