Manhattan prosecutors decided to drop their charges against Amy Cooper — a white woman who was deemed "Central Park Karen" after she called the police on a Black birdwatcher and claimed he was threatening her life — on Tuesday, February 16. The DA made this decision, citing that she's completed a "restorative" alternative, which included five therapy sessions that she "learned a lot" from.
Cooper was charged with one count of falsifying an incident report after she called the police on Christian Cooper, who told her to put her dog on a leash while in Central Park, on May 25 of last year. The charge she faced was a Class A misdemeanor, which could result in a maximum prison sentence of one year and fines of up to $1,000.
Since the report, Amy was fired from her job at an investment firm in Manhattan and became one of the faces of a series of incidents where white women seemingly abuse their privileges.
ADA Iluzzi explained the case and noted: "The simple principle is that one cannot use the police to threaten another and in this case, in a racially offensive and charged manner."
Given that Amy had no past criminal charges, the ADA explained that the prosecutors "offered her an alternative, restorative justice resolution; designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing," which is "consistent with our position on many misdemeanor cases involving a first arrest."
She added that Amy completed a "comprehensive, respectful program" at the Critical Therapy Center. During her five therapy sessions, she focused on the ways in which she "could appreciate that racial identities shape our lives but we cannot use them to harm ourselves or others."
Amy's therapist cited their time together as a "moving experience" for "Central Park Karen."
After the incident last year — which was captured by Christian, who later posted the encounter to social media — Christian accepted Amy's apology but said she has to "do some reflection" on the incident. "It was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker, and then she took it to a very dark place," he shared. "I think she’s gotta sort of examine why and how that happened."
Christian did not take part in the legal proceedings against Amy.
Since learning of Amy's dismissal, critics are calling the decision the "whitest sentence ever."