NewsOne Featured Video
Accused subway killers Jordan Williams (left) and Daniel Penny

From left: Jordan Williams and Daniel Penny. | Source: GiveSendGo and Getty Images

More than a week after a black man was arrested and charged for a fatal stabbing in the subway that his lawyer says was done out of self-defense to an allegedly violent homeless man, an online crowdfunding effort to pay for his legal fees has raised a considerable amount of money.

At the same time, however, the low six figures raised thus far to help defend Jordan Williams, 20, from manslaughter charges are a far cry from the millions of dollars in donations that poured in exponentially quicker for a white man who choked an allegedly nonviolent Black man in the throes of a mental health crisis.

MORE: GoFundMe, GiveSendGo And The White Privilege Of Raising Funds Online

The contrast was hard to avoid when comparing the online fundraisers for Williams — charged in the June 13 stabbing death of Devictor Ouedraogo, who reportedly confronted passengers and assaulted Williams’ girlfriend — and Daniel Penny, who eyewitnesses say came up from behind and placed Jordan Neely into what became a fatal chokehold.

Ironically, the key similarities between the two cases have placed a brightening spotlight on that aforementioned contrast.

As of Thursday morning, the Jordan Williams Legal Fund that is hosted on the GiveSendGo website had garnered more than $116,000 from nearly 2,500 donors.

But just a few days after Penny was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter for choking Neely to death on May 1 with the help of two unidentified men, the 24-year-old Marine’s GiveSendGo account had collected more than $2 million. As of Thursday morning, the tally stood at nearly $3 million from nearly 59,000 donors.

Similar cases, different responses

Eyewitnesses have said that Neely was acting erratically, screaming that he was hungry and announcing he didn’t care if he died or went to jail because of that hunger. And while the 30-year-old homeless man was reportedly menacing passengers, he never assaulted anyone before Penny choked him to death.

In Williams’ case, Ouedraogo was also reportedly acting erratically. The 36-year-old “punched Mr. Williams’s girlfriend and menaced passengers,” Williams’ lawyer claimed.

In both cases, the mental illness diagnoses, criminal records and homelessness of Neely and Ouedraogo were immediately reported.

But that’s where the similarities end.

Once Neely’s homicide was reported, right-wing Republicans led the charge in supporting Penny choking Neely to death, with many suggesting he was a “Good Samaritan” who was simply defending himself and passengers from a crazed Black homeless man whose death was simply collateral damage.

When news broke about Williams — who was defending himself, his girlfriend and other subway passengers from an actual threat and not a perceived one — those same right-wing Republicans who openly defended Penny were nowhere to be found.

Notably, Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis encouraged Americans to “take back the streets for law abiding citizens” like Penny. However, DeSantis — who has been busy trying to suppress African American history in the Sunshine State — hasn’t said a single word in support of Williams.

Likewise, people who identify with right-wing Republicans and conservatives have remained silent about Williams’ legal plight.

That is to speak nothing of how Williams was immediately arrested and charged while cops refused to do the same to Penny until his carefully orchestrated surrender nearly two full weeks later.

The racial lines of crowdfunding

No matter the reason for starting an online crowdfunding account, it’s always a crapshoot whether they will attract the desired goal. But in recent cases involving instances with both Black and white people, the Black folks involved routinely get the short end of the donation stick, relatively speaking.

In northern Florida, where a white woman shot a Black mother of four through her own door in purported self-defense earlier this month, a GoFundMe account for the victim, Ajike Owens, has raised more than $330,000 of its $1 million goal. This is the part where readers must be reminded how Penny has raised nearly $3 million for choking an unarmed Black man to death.

And last month in New York City, a white woman who accused a group of Black teens in a viral incident that seemingly involved racial profiling was able to raise over $20,000 more than the family of the main teenager in the unfortunate encounter.

This is America.


NYPD’s Quick Arrest Of Black Man In ‘Self Defense’ Subway Killing Contrasts With Daniel Penny’s Treatment

Jordan Neely’s Killer Had Help: Will The People Who Aided And Abetted Daniel Penny Be Charged Too?

Backtracking On ‘Early Retirement’ Vow, Isaiah Washington Starts $1M GoFundMe To Produce Movie
10 photos