Woman Who Called Cops On Black Man Bird-Watching In Central Park Has All Charges Dropped
Amy Cooper, who was caught on video calling the police on a Black man to falsely accuse him of harassing her last spring, has had the charges against her dropped.
Ms Cooper, who was labelled the ‘Central Park Karen’ after video of her hysterics went viral on social media, was charged with a third-degree misdemeanour crime of falsely reporting an incident, which carries a possible sentence of up to a year in prison. The case came about after birdwatcher Christian Cooper filmed her calling 911 on him after he had asked her to put her dog on a lead.
The footage, which was shot in New York’s Central Park in May 2020, shows Ms Cooper crying and screaming down the phone as she claims that Mr Cooper has ‘tried to assault her’. Before she made the call, Ms Cooper could be seen telling Mr Cooper, ‘I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,’ adding, ‘I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.’
Ms Cooper was fired from her job and saw her dog temporarily placed in a shelter following the incident, but on Monday the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said it would no longer be pursuing the case, after being satisfied that Ms Cooper had completed education and therapy classes as part of a restorative justice programme, per CNN.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said that Ms Cooper had made progress through the programme, which was ‘designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing’, and was offered as an alternative to a traditional prosecution ‘given the issues at hand and Ms. Cooper’s lack of criminal background’.
According to Illuzzi, the classes ‘focused on the ways in which Ms. Cooper could appreciate that racial identities shape our lives but we cannot use them to harm ourselves or others’.
Coming to light in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, which also took place in May, the incident quickly caused outrage on social media as an example of the dangers faced by Black men in America. Some made historical comparisons, pointing in particular to the 1954 murder of Emmitt Till, a Black child who was lynched after a White woman falsely accused him of whistling at her, HuffPost reports.
In a statement released after the incident, Ms Cooper apologised for the incident and denied being a racist, saying she ‘did not mean to harm that man in any way’.
Mr Cooper had previously told The New York Times that he would not co-operate with the investigation, saying that she had ‘already paid a steep price’ and that ‘bringing her more misery just seems like piling on’.
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