Amy Cooper will face criminal charges over call to New York City police falsely claiming Black man was threatening her.
Amy Cooper, the white woman arrested last year for calling 911 during a dispute with a Black man in New York’s Central Park, had her criminal case dismissed on Tuesday after completing a counselling programme meant to educate her on the harm of her actions.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said prosecutors were satisfied with Cooper’s participation in the programme, which she described as an alternative, restorative justice solution, and were not seeking to pursue the case any further.
Charges against #AmyCooper (Central Park birdwatching incident) have been formally dismissed this morning at a hearing in criminal court. The Manhattan ADA Illuzzi told the judge that Cooper had been offered a “restorative” alternative.
— Marta Dhanis (@MartaDhanis) February 16, 2021
Judge Anne Swern agreed to dismiss the charge of filing a false police report, a misdemeanour, and said she would seal Cooper’s case file, in accordance with state law.
Illuzzi said Cooper’s programme, which included five therapy sessions, stressed appreciating racial identities but not using them to cause harm. The prosecutor said Cooper’s therapist described it as a “moving experience” and that she learned “a lot in their sessions together”.
In a tweet, Cooper’s lawyer Robert Barnes thanked the Manhattan district attorney’s office for “a thorough & honest inquiry” into the case, and accused “others” of rushing to a faulty conclusion.
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
Cooper drew widespread condemnation and was fired from her job at investment firm Franklin Templeton after frantically calling 911 on May 25 to claim she was being threatened by “an African American man”, birdwatcher Christian Cooper, who had confronted her for walking her dog without a leash.
In the video, posted by Christian Cooper’s sister on Twitter, he sounded calm and appeared to keep a safe distance from Amy Cooper. The video went viral and has been watched more than 45 million times.
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm
— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
Reached by phone, Christian Cooper told The Associated Press news agency that he had no reaction to the news that Amy Cooper’s case was dismissed. Illuzzi said in court that he did not wish to participate in the criminal case.