By Dr. John E. Warren
America should be looking very closely at the outpouring of money and support for Daniel James Penny, 24, the White subway passenger who put Jordan Neely, Black, in a chokehold that ended his life. Neely’s crime was begging for food and money on a subway train, clearly to the annoyance of Penny and the other White men who allegedly held him down while Penny choked him to death.
It is very disturbing that the over 41,000 people, having given more than 2 million dollars to a defense fund for Penny, many of those supposedly gave “Thank You” notes attached to their donations. The tone of the notes suggest that those making the donations were White Extremists glad that Penny killed a Black man, supposedly seeing him as a threat because of his begging for food and money.
In contrast, a little more than 80 thousand dollars has been given to the Jordan Neely Go Fund Me for funeral arrangements.
There are two messages here. One, that there is a White element in America committed to rejoicing when a Black person is killed, regardless of the circumstances. They vote their approval with their dollars and give encouragement to others who might see this as a signal to go out and kill some of us themselves. This creates an expectation that reward and financial support will follow such actions, not criminal punishment, as we saw with the hand slap of the White teenager killing people during the Black Lives Matter protest in Minnesota.
Black people in particular should respond to the Jordan Neely case with an outpouring of money and support to his family that makes a statement, in contrast, that Neely’s family has the support of all of us who look like him, regardless of our mental condition. We do not support being tried and executed by White Vigilantes, regardless of their reasons.
Also, we must not allow the white media to wrap Daniel Penny in the flag of being an ex-marine. There is no such thing as an “ex-marine” and his being a Marine had nothing to do with the murder he committed by using excessive force in the same manner that George Floyd was murdered by an on-duty white police officer. Not only does Penny deserve to be charged with murder in the first degree because his actions were unnecessary and premeditated, but those who assisted him in this murder should be charged also.
Black people in particular and White and Latino and Asian Americans who know this was wrong, must vote with their voices and dollars for this family and everyone like them going forward who has been brought to this point of loss and suffering.
Let us remember that for evil to succeed all it takes is for good to do nothing.