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The Charges Against Amy Cooper For Falsely Accusing A Black Birdwatcher Of Assault Have Been Dismissed

Manhattan prosecutors asked for the charges to be dismissed after Cooper completed five sessions of a "restorative justice program."

Posted on February 16, 2021, at 11:19 a.m. ET

Christian Cooper

The case against Amy Cooper, the woman who called the police to falsely accuse a Black birdwatcher of threatening her life in Central Park last May, was dismissed Tuesday after Cooper completed five therapy sessions as part of a "restorative justice program," prosecutors said.

Cooper was facing a misdemeanor charge for falsely reporting an assault during an encounter with Christian Cooper (no relation), who asked her to leash her dog in the Central Park Ramble on May 25, 2020.

She infamously became known as "Central Park Karen" after the encounter — which Christian Cooper recorded on his cellphone — went viral.

During Tuesday's hearing, prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss the charge against her after Cooper completed the therapy sessions "which 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," Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said during the hearing.

"Having completed 5 sessions, Ms. Cooper’s therapist reported that it was a moving experience and that Ms. Cooper learned a lot in their sessions together," Illuzzi said.

The judge granted the prosecution's motion to dismiss the charge.

Cooper lost her job at Franklin Templeton soon after the incident sparked outrage as yet another glaring example of white people falsely reporting Black people to police.

Cooper was walking her dog in the Ramble when Christian Cooper asked her to put her dog on the leash per the sign in the area. During their conversation, she told him that she was going to call the police and "tell them there's an African American man threatening my life."

She then called 911 to report that a Black male was threatening her inside the Ramble and repeated the false accusation in a second phone call to 911, adding that the man "tried to assault her."

When officers responded to the scene, she admitted that Christian Cooper had not tried to assault her or even come into contact with her.

Christian Cooper did not want to press charges but the Manhattan DA alleged that Amy Cooper "engaged in racist criminal conduct."

Her offense, Illuzzi said Tuesday, "wasn’t solely against one individual but 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," she said.

Citing her lack of criminal background, prosecutors offered her a "restorative justice solution; designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing," Illuzzi said.

Cooper was then sent to the Critical Therapy Center where she was provided with "psychoeducation and therapy services" about racial equity that were designed for "introspection and progress."

In a statement on Twitter Tuesday, Cooper's lawyer Robert Barnes thanked the DA's office for dismissing the charges against her.

"Others rushed to the wrong conclusion based on inadequate investigation & they may yet face legal consequences," he said.


A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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