Brakkton Booker, NPR, February 16, 2021
Amy Cooper, a white dog owner who was at the center of a controversial encounter with a Black man bird-watching in New York’s Central Park last year, had her misdemeanor charge stemming from that incident dropped on Tuesday.
The woman had been facing a charge of falsely reporting an incident to police after she told them Christian Cooper, who is not related to her, threatened her and her dog. He did not.
“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,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi told a Manhattan judge, according to a statement provided to NPR.
The program, Illuzzi explained, is “designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing.”
Illuzzi said Cooper completed a total of five sessions and that her therapist described it as a “moving experience,” adding that Amy Cooper “learned a lot in their sessions together.”
It also noted that Christian Cooper declined to participate in the criminal justice process, but added the District Attorney’s Office went forward with the proceedings because it determined the offense was not just against Cooper, but also “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 statement read.
Not long after the video surfaced she was fired from her job at the investment firm Franklin Templeton.
For his part, Christian Cooper told NPR at the time he wasn’t sure the fallout she was receiving was warranted.
“I’m not sure that her one minute of poor decision-making, bad judgments and, without question, racist response necessarily has to define her completely, you know?”