LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Nassau County officials held a rally in support of Daniel Penny, the marine charged with manslaughter in the subway chokehold death of Jordan Neely.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman ventured into Manhattan to support 24-year-old Penny on Wednesday morning.
"Every day, tens of thousands of Nassau County residents commute into New York City," Blakeman said. "I'm worried about them. I'm worried about our Nassau County residents. Just think of it. Good Samaritans should be encouraged. Good Samaritans should be a part of the fabric of our community."
Neely, 30, died after Penny, 24, put him in a chokehold on an F train earlier this month.
Witnesses say he burst onto the train and began ranting, throwing trash and threatening riders. After several minutes, Neely lost consciousness and died. Penny claims he acted to protect himself and his fellow riders.
The death has shocked and divided New York. Many -- including some in city government -- declared it a blatant act of vigilantism. But Blakeman insisted New York needs more people like Penny.
"He cared about his fellow subway riders," Blakeman said. "He cared enough to get involved. And isn't that what we want?"
Blakeman was flanked by a crowd of flag waving veterans and first responders in support of Penny, according to his press release.
He was forced to yell over a vocal, albeit smaller, group of counter-demonstrators carrying signs reading "Justice for Jordan Neely" and yelling for Blakeman to "go back to Long Island."
After Blakeman spoke for about 20 minutes, the rally broke up and a couple skirmishes broke out.
"I feel like it's our duty to to be there and disrupt this right wing narrative that he's a hero who can now take justice into his old hands," said counter-protester Karla Reyes
Some Neely supporters were detained by the large number of police and court officers standing by outside of 100 Centre Street, where Penny case will be prosecuted.
Three people were arrested for obstruction of governmental administration. They are expected to receive a summons or a desk appearance ticket and be told to appear in court at a later date.
ALSO READ| Daniel Penny arraigned on manslaughter charge, enters no plea; Neely's family attorneys speak out
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