Amy Cooper aka Central Park Karen charges dismissed by Manhattan prosecutors after false allegations against black birdwatcher after claims of rehabilitation. But what if she were a black man would the charges still have been dropped?
Understanding what we mean by the justice system and rehabilitation…
A Manhattan judge on Tuesday dismissed all charges against a white woman who called police on a Black bird watcher in Central Park after falsely accusing the ‘black man’ of threatening her upon requesting she adhere to park laws and leash her dog.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said prosecutors were satisfied with Amy Cooper’s progress in a program designed to have her take responsibility for the widely-condemned incident on May 25 inside Central Park’s Ramble.
‘When this incident occurred, the people carefully examined the facts and evidence regarding what had occurred between the defendant and Christian Cooper, a civilian in the park,’ Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said the nydailynews reports.
Upon Christian beginning to film Amy, upon her refusal to leash the dog in cellphone video that quickly went viral, Cooper — a former investment banker — is seen pulling her cellphone out and ‘dramatically’ placing a 911 call.
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
‘I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,’
Though they share a last name, the two are not related.
‘I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,’ Amy is heard telling Christian, her voice rising with hysteria as she speaks to a 911 operator.
The responding officers found Amy before they ran into Christian, Illuzzi pointed out.
‘They reported that some man tried to assault her and her dog, a statement that was objectively not true,’ she said.
Had it played out the other way around, ‘The police would have then been in a position where they thought that Mr. Cooper had tried to assault the defendant,’ the prosecutor said.
‘Certainly, he would have been held — and held forcibly — if he had resisted.’
Illuzzi-Orbon said Christian’s wishes not to bring charges against Amy didn’t deter prosecutors from mounting a case against her to send a message to the broader community.
White privilege 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,’ she said.
Charged with falsely reporting an incident, Illuzzi said Amy attended a total of five sessions at Manhattan Justice Opportunity as part of her punishment, where she completed a ‘comprehensive’ program which included therapy and education on racial bias and cultural sensitivity.
‘Miss Cooper’s therapist reported it was a moving experience and that Ms. Cooper learned a lot in their sessions together,’ Illuzzi said.
Asked if she had anything to say before her case was sealed during Tuesday’s hearing, Amy said, ‘No, your honor.’
Amy’s attorney Robert Barnes said he was pleased with a ‘thorough and honest’ inquiry and that prosecutors had dropped the charges.
‘Others rushed to the wrong conclusion based on inadequate investigation and they may yet face legal consequences,’ he said. It wasn’t immediately clear who the ‘others’ being referenced were.
Oh to be white in America. Prosecutors moved to toss the case becuase she went to therapy.
New York Post : Charges against ‘Central Park Karen’ Amy Cooper dismissed.https://t.co/1flfux7s4s
— Nana Yaw (@DrPanee) February 16, 2021
Right decision? Social media responds
The decision to drop charges against Amy Cooper led to a myriad of responses on social media, including this author who wondered would charges have been dropped had the race and gender of the accused were reversed? While one commentator stated, Maybe people shouldn’t be focusing on her but on police brutality which is why this whole thing was an issue in the first place. This lady is really insignificant compared to the police brutality that occurs every day.
While another said, What she did is disgusting, but this is a case where we need to remember and honor our principles: the goal of the justice system is to rehabilitate, not punish and permanently ostracize, offenders. I hope that the opportunity she had is one that is open to offenders of all ethnicities and economic backgrounds. If not, that’s a problem to fix, too, but after all, one of the few categories in which the US still leads the world is highest incarcerations. Good programs that help us reduce incarcerations and reach better outcomes are in the public interest.
Posted another, ‘Problem is that is justice system for some not all. People are mad because Black men are imprisoned and murdered for less.’
While another wrote, ‘Who care she still went through the System her name is still out there, Her reputation is destroyed for good her video is still around. So let’s see she do it again another thing she got FIRED from her job.’
And then there was this response too: ‘This is exactly why she felt emboldened to do it. She knew like we knew by making that phone call that this man could’ve been harmed or killed and she also knew that regardless what happened to him, she’d have no consequences. She had nothing to lose and she lost nothing. The American way is to reward racism. Now they put on a dog and pony show to make it seem like they’re taking action but it’s smoke and mirrors with the same result.’
What do you think? Was justice served? Or is racism ongoing and endemic in the United States and rarely, if ever, punished….?