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Morning Spew

Daniel Penny Is Being Treated Like He’s a Cop

The most predictable thing in the worst way, and other links to start your day.

9:39 AM EDT on May 15, 2023

Protesters in the subway on May 6, 2023 (Alex Kent / Hell Gate)

In the days since Daniel Penny killed Jordan Neely, condemnation of the act has been…scattered. While several local politicians have condemned the chokehold death of a lifelong New Yorker, others, including the mayor, have wavered. The New York Times, even this morning, continues to publish pieces that deflect blame away from Penny for killing Neely

On Friday, when it came to finally charging Penny, a former marine from Long Island, he was given a treatment often reserved for high-profile celebrities like Harvey Weinstein or the rare cop who has killed someone and then is actually prosecuted. His surrender, arrest, and bail were worked out with his lawyers beforehand (a rarity for those charged with manslaughter, according to public defenders), and within just a few hours of arriving at Chinatown's Fifth Precinct, he was back on his way home—to continue his life while awaiting trial. 

There's also another distinctly cop-like development around Penny—a sizable crowdfunding campaign, which has been touted by people like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Penny's GiveSendGo campaign has raised nearly $2 million for Penny's legal defense. Any excess money, his legal team says, will be spent on "mental health advocacy." On the other side of the crowdfunding equation is the family of Jordan Neely, who has raised just over $124,000 to bury their family member. 

The clear pattern that we've seen play out here, and in Wisconsin and Missouri and across the country, is that if you give a little light to the idea that someone deserved to die, should have been killed, then many Americans will overwhelmingly respond with their wallets. At the same time, in the same city, the NYPD cops who killed Kawaski Trawick are working overtime to make clear that another mentally ill Black man in New York City had to die (all this in an effort to escape only getting fired, or, most likely, only being stripped of vacation days). It's tough to see where just acting like a cop (killing Black men) and actually being a cop (where you get to kill Black men) gets you treated any differently.

Some links to start your post-Mother's Day Monday (take an Advil, mom!): 

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