BREAKING: Witness calls former Marine Daniel Penny a 'hero' for defending subway passengers

"It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that he saved a lot of people that day that could have gotten hurt," she said.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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A witness who saw Marine veteran Daniel Penny put a chokehold Jordan Neely, the homeless man who was threatening passengers in a New York City subway car earlier this month, is calling Penny a hero, and calling out District Attorney Alvin Bragg for prosecuting him.

"He’s a hero," the witness, a retiree who described herself as a woman of color, told Fox News. The woman also noted that it took three men to hold Neely down, with two other unidentified men holding down Neely’s arms.

"It was self-defense, and I believe in my heart that he saved a lot of people that day that could have gotten hurt," she added, slamming Brag’s decision to bring forth a second-degree manslaughter charge against Penny.

At around 2:30 pm on May 1, Neely, 30, entered a northbound F train and began screaming and threatening passengers, the woman, who is in her 60s, said.

"I’m sitting on a train reading my book, and, all of a sudden, I hear someone spewing this rhetoric. He said, ‘I don’t care if I have to kill an F, I will. I’ll go to jail, I’ll take a bullet,’" recalled the woman, who added that passengers began crowding toward the exit doors.

"I’m looking at where we are in the tube, in the sardine can, and I’m like, ‘OK, we’re in between stations. There’s nowhere we can go,’" she said. "The people on that train, we were scared. We were scared for our lives."

The witness said that Penny stepped in when Neely began using the word "kill" and "bullet."

"Why in the world would you take a bullet? Why? You don’t take a bullet because you’ve snatched something from somebody’s hand. You take a bullet for violence," she added.

The woman said that Penny waited until the last minute to intervene to protect his fellow passengers, adding that she didn’t get a clear view of the scene until the doors opened at the Broadway-Lafayette station stop and most passengers exited.

"Mr. Penny cared for people. That’s what he did. That is his crime," she said, adding that she and at least three other passengers thanked Penny.

"Nobody wants to kill anybody. Mr. Penny didn’t want to kill that man," she said. "You should have seen the way Mr. Penny looked. He was distraught. He was very, very, very visibly distressed. And he didn’t go. He didn’t run. He stayed." 

The woman said of the narrative that has emerged since that day, of a white man fatally chocking a black man, "This isn't about race. This is about people of all colors who were very, very afraid and a man who stepped in to help them. Race is being used to divide us."

A fundraiser for Penny’s legal defense has received over $2 million in donations.

"I hope that they raise more because it’s going to cost a pretty penny, no pun intended, to get this young man justice," she said.

The woman blasted officials "jumping up and down and feeling all this venom" toward Penny, saying, "There was AOC saying that this gentleman was lynched. Why would she do that? She's supposed to be for all people."

The woman also expressed sympathy for Neely, who suffered from mental illness and has been arrested more than 40 times, including for numerous assaults on subway passengers.

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