In a Friday night tweet, Florida governor Ron DeSantis praised a man charged with manslaughter for fatally choking Jordan Neely, a homeless subway passenger, in New York earlier this month.
“We must defeat the Soros-Funded DAs, stop the Left’s pro-criminal agenda, and take back the streets for law abiding citizens,” Mr DeSantis wrote. “We stand with Good Samaritans like Daniel Penny. Let’s show this Marine... America’s got his back.”
Mr Penny, a 24-year-old former US Marine, was charged with second-degree manslaughter on Friday.
He has not submitted a plea yet in regards to the charges.
On 1 May, a man identified as Mr Penny placed the 30-year-old homeless former street performer in a fatal chokehold for several minutes until he died on the floor of an F train on the Broadway-Lafayette platform in Manhattan. The city’s medical examiner determined Neely’s cause of death was homicide.
The killing has been widely criticised by local officials and protesters in New York, who argue Neely’s death perpetuates a narrative where Black people experiencing poverty are met with dismissal or deadly violence.
“Jordan Neely’s death was a homicide, and charges must be immediately brought against his killer,” the city’s elected public advocate Jumaane Williams said in a statement shared with The Independent.
“To say anything else is an equivocation that will only further a narrative that devalues the life of a Black, homeless man with mental health challenges and encourages an attitude of dehumanization of New Yorkers in greatest need.”
Elected leaders and media coverage have created an environment “that encourages fear of and violence against people who are struggling, that paints them as a threat to public safety”, he added. “But being homeless is not a capital crime. Struggling with mental health is not a capital crime. Being Black is not a capital crime.”
Alex Woodward contributed reporting to this story.