NEW YORK (PIX11) — Dozens of people rallied outside a Manhattan criminal courthouse in support of Daniel Penny on Wednesday. The group was organized by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.

Blakeman told the group: “Daniel Penny is a Marine, he is a hero, he is somebody that was a good Samaritan.”

Penny has been charged with second-degree manslaughter after placing Jordan Neely in a fatal chokehold on the New York City subway. Prosecutors said Neely was aggressively asking for money and food.

So far, $2.8 million has been raised for Penny’s legal defense.

New York City Councilmember Vickie Paladino spoke at the rally, saying Penny’s actions were “clearly self-defense, and defense of the people that were threatened that day on the subway.”

There were tense moments during the rally, as several people showed up expressing a different view, calling for the conviction of Penny.

“Jordan Neely didn’t commit any crimes. He was a poor homeless Black man crying out for help on the subways, maybe people felt uncomfortable by how he did it,” Gabriela Silva told PIX11 News.

Penny is due back in court in July. His attorneys say they will fight the criminal case.