New York drops case over woman who called cops on black bird watcher in viral video


NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Criminal charges were dropped on Tuesday (Feb 16) against Amy Cooper, the white woman who was caught on a viral video making a false 911 police complaint against a black bird watcher in New York City's Central Park.

The misdemeanour charge of false reporting of a police incident in the third-degree against Cooper was dropped after Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said the defendant had completed court-sanctioned therapy sessions about racial bias.

In the video, which went viral after the May 25, 2020 incident, Cooper can be seen telephoning police while holding onto her dog and claiming to the 911 dispatcher that Christian Cooper, a black man in the park bird-watching, was threatening her and her dog.

Illuzzi said that Christian Cooper had declined to participate in their prosecution of the case.

Amy Cooper completed a five-session programme by the Manhattan Justice Opportunity, a court-alternative programme, Illuzzi said, in which the defendant had learned "that racial identities shape our lives but we cannot use them to harm ourselves and others."

Cooper's therapist reported that she had "learned a lot in their sessions together," Illuzzi said.

Such a programme was appropriate, Illuzzi said, given the fact that this was Amy Cooper's first arrest, her lack of criminal history and the fact that she had been charged with a misdemeanour.

New York State Supreme Court Justice Anne Swern agreed to drop the charge against Cooper, who appeared via video-conference feed with her lawyer.

"After a thorough and honest inquiry, the New York DA's office dismissed all charges today," her lawyer, Robert Barnes, said in a statement on Twitter.

"We thank them for their integrity and concur w/the outcome."