DeSantis supports Daniel Penny, who is charged in the death of Jordan Neely

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed his support for Daniel Penny, the Marine charged in the stranglehold death of Jordan Neely, in a tweet Friday.

“We must defeat the Soros-funded prosecutors, stop the left’s pro-criminal agenda, and reclaim the streets for law-abiding citizens,” DeSantis wrote in a tweet fundraising for Penny’s appeals. “We stand with good Samaritans like Daniel Penny. Let’s show that Marine… America has his back.”

Penny sparked national outrage after he strangled Neely, a Michael Jackson impersonator who struggled with mental health issues and homelessness, on a New York City subway for about 15 minutes. According to a witness who spoke to NBC New York.

This was reported by the Nexstar subsidiary WPIX that a coroner determined that Neely’s death was homicide caused by compression of the neck from the chokehold.

The protests began after officers released Penny without charge on Monday. Penny and his attorneys said the defendant acted in self-defense.

“Daniel never intended to harm Mr. Neely and could not have foreseen his untimely death,” said his attorneys Thomas Kenniff and Steven Raiser.

Court records showed Neely had an extensive list of arrests – including attacks on the subway system, according to Fox News.

However, Neely’s family said that while he was acting erratically, he was not attacking anyone at the moment.

“Mr. Neely didn’t attack anyone. He didn’t touch anyone. He didn’t hit anyone. But he was choked,” said Done Mills, an attorney for Neely’s family. ” [Penny] acted indifferently. He didn’t take care of Jordan, he took care of himself. And we can’t let that happen.”

A video showing the chokehold incident also shows a witness warning Penny to let Neely go or he could kill him.

“You’re going to kill him now…I’m telling you,” the witness said in the video.

A New York official condemned Penny’s actions as vigilantism.

“NYC is not Gotham,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “We must not become a city where a mentally ill person can be asphyxiated by vigilantes without consequences. Or where the killer is justified and applauded.”

Others condemned both the state and the city of New York’s inability to care for the homeless population.

DeSantis’ tweet sparked controversy. Some praised the governor for standing by Penny’s side, others attacked him for supporting what they called vigilante justice.

Other Twitter users questioned DeSantis’ use of the term “Soros-funded” as a potentially anti-Semitic dog whistle.

According to the American Jewish Committee, it is not anti-Semitic to criticize the political actions of George Soros, a billionaire Jewish philanthropist known for donating to liberal causes. However, the AJC said it could be anti-Semitic to use it as a “symbol of Jewish control, wealth and power.”

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