Cynthia Godsoe Weighs Potential Interpretation of “Reasonableness” in a Trial over Jordan’s Neely’s Killing

Cynthia Godsoe (’99), Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, coauthored an opinion for the Daily News, discussing the problem of built-in bias in considering self-defense and calling us to examine how we treat the most vulnerable members of society (“Neely’s Death and Reasonableness: Like in the Bernhard Goetz Case, How the Word Is Interpreted Will Determine if the Subway Killing by Daniel Penny Is Lawful or Not,” May 13).Neely, after all, wasn’t just a Black man. He was a Black man suffering from mental illness. The question all of us should ask is not just whether Penny was justified in choking a mentally ill man for several minutes, long after Neely could have posed any threat. We should also ask whether we are justified in how we treat, or don’t treat, people who are mentally ill. . . . Too often, our default response is to respond without empathy, to see them as the problem.”