Amy Cooper, Who Called Police On A Black Central Park Birdwatcher, Has Misdemeanor Charge Dismissed
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office dropped the misdemeanor charges against Amy Cooper, a white woman who called the cops on a black man, Christian Cooper, in Central Park, after she completed education and therapy classes on racial equity.
“Given the issues at hand and Ms. Cooper’s lack of criminal background, we offered her, consistent with our position on many misdemeanor cases involving a first arrest, an alternative, restorative justice resolution; designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said in court, according to a statement.
Last May, Amy called the police on Christian after the two got into an argument in Central Park over Amy’s dog being unleashed. Christian started recoding the incident as Amy took out her phone and said, “I’m taking a picture and calling the cops. I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
Christian later posted the video of the encounter on his Facebook. In July, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office began the prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.
It was later revealed in October that Amy made two false reports, claiming that Christian was threatening her. At the time, Cooper faced up to a year in jail, a fine or both.
“Amy completed five sessions with the Critical Therapy Center that focused on ways she could appreciate that racial identities shape our lives but we cannot use them to harm ourselves or others,” according to Illuzzi.
Illuzzi also added that Amy’s therapist reported the experience was “moving” and that Amy learned a lot during their time together.
Amy completed the restorative justice session to the prosecutors’ satisfaction, leading the Manhattan district attorney’s office to dismiss the charges against her. The judge granted the motion to dismiss.
Christian declined to press charges or be part of legal proceedings in 2020, but the district attorney’s office went ahead because the incident was “a threat to the community if allowed to go unchecked.”
“The simple principle is that one cannot use the police to threaten another and in this case, in a racially offensive and charged manner,” the district attorney’s statement read.
Amy’s attorney, Robert Barnes, thanked the DA’s office for a “thorough & honest inquiry.”
After a thorough & honest inquiry, the New York DA’s office dismissed all charges today against #AmyCooper. We thank them for their integrity & concur w/ the outcome. Others rushed to the wrong conclusion based on inadequate investigation & they may yet face legal consequences.
— Robert Barnes (@barnes_law) February 16, 2021
The original incident occurred on the same day George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police, adding to the discussion of race and the dangers Black people face in America.
“I videotaped it because I thought it was important to document things. Unfortunately we live in an era with things like Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are seen as targets. This woman thought she could exploit that to her advantage, and I wasn’t having it,” Christian said at the time of the incident.