Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, and other Republicans are rallying around Daniel Penny.
Prosecutors charged Penny with manslaughter after he killed Jordan Neely on the New York subway in April.
Support for Penny is reminiscent of support given to Kyle Rittenhouse ahead of the 2020 election.
Some conservatives love a mascot for vigilante justice, and they seem to have found their newest poster boy in Daniel Penny.
Republican 2024 presidential candidates are lining up in support of Penny, a 24-year-old Marine veteran who placed Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man, in a chokehold that ultimately killed him on the New York City subway. The Manhattan district attorney's office charged Penny with manslaughter on May 12 after a medical examiner ruled Neely's death a homicide.
Lawyers for Penny said he was acting in self-defense and "could not have foreseen" what they called Neely's "untimely death." Witnesses to the incident said while Neely was agitated, he never touched anyone on the train.
Critics have pointed to the killing as another example of vigilante justice, which a former federal prosecutor, Neama Rahmani, recently described as a "huge problem" in the US.
But some high-profile Republicans are calling it an act of "bravery."
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who is expected to announce his 2024 candidacy next week, urged his followers to donate to Penny's legal fundraiser to show him that "America's got his back." That fundraiser, set up by Penny's attorneys, has surpassed $2.6 million. Notes of support say Penny's "bravery should be rewarded."
Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN who is running for president in 2024, echoed those thoughts, calling for Gov. Kathy Hochul to pardon Penny. Another candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, donated $10,000 to Penny's fundraiser, The Associated Press reported.
The Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, for his part, said Penny "was in great danger and the other people in the car were in great danger," according to The Associated Press.
The support for Penny is reminiscent of the support given to Kyle Rittenhouse ahead of the 2020 election. The right wing propelled Rittenhouse — who was acquitted of all criminal charges after he killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, amid civil unrest in 2020 — to stardom, earning invites to speak on Fox News and major conservative conferences.
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