Amy Cooper May Get Plea Deal Allowing Her to Avoid Jail for Calls About Birdwatcher, Prosecutors Say

Amy Cooper, the woman who accused birdwatcher Christian Cooper of threatening her in Central Park, may avoid jail time in a plea deal with prosecutors in the District Attorney’s office. As part of the deal they would make her publicly acknowledge wrongdoing and attend a program to learn why what she did was harmful, the Times reported.

Amy Cooper was walking her dog in The Ramble on May 25 when Christian Cooper asked her to put a leash on her dog. When she refused, he filmed her reaction and her subsequent call to police, in which she said in an agitated voice that an “African-American man” was “threatening me and my dog.” The video of the incident sparked outrage, as Amy Cooper was criticized for putting Christian’s life in danger. She lost her job and was then charged with filing a false report.

Some new revelations about the incident came out at a court hearing on Wednesday. Cooper actually made two calls that day, a prosecutor said in court. And in the second call she alleged that Christian (no relation to Amy) had tried to assault her, the Times reported. (Update: the Times now says the second call was from a dispatcher to Cooper.)

“The defendant twice reported that an African American man was putting her in danger, first by stating that he was threatening her and her dog, then making a second call indicating that he tried to assault her in the Ramble area of the park,” Joan Illuzzi, a senior prosecutor, said.

That said, Amy Cooper then changed her tune. “When the police arrived, however, Ms. Cooper told an officer that her reports were untrue, and that Mr. Cooper had not touched or assaulted her, the complaint says,” according to the Times.

Cooper’s lawyer Robert Barnes has said in the past that she is the victim of a “cancel culture epidemic,” the Times noted.

“How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?” he asked. Mr. Barnes did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

NEWS | 26 comments | permalink
    1. lynn says:

      Mr. Barnes should ask himself how many lives could have been destroyed by the two “untrue’ phone calls his client made to the police.

    2. Rob says:

      There was no misunderstanding as stated by her lawyer. What a lie.

      There is also an asymmetry in possible outcomes between the two parties. If he was arrested he would have had likely spent some time in jail, not to mention the time served if he was wrongfully convicted, which is a distinct possibility.

      But she gets off with a plea deal and no time served?

      In order to stop illegal behavior our justice system metes out punishment as a deterrent to others. A plea deal is inappropriate here and there should be more severe punishment as allowed by the law.

      • Tara Black says:

        Actually the very likely outcome of her call is that the police would have murdered him on sight as happens to so many other Black men and women in custody. She knew exactly what she was doing in the moment she did it and she tried not once, but twice. Losing her job was not a great enough punishment.

        • Charles says:

          “Actually the very likely outcome of her call is that the police would have murdered him on sight”

          What utter nonsense. Typical liberal hyperbole, completely detached from reality.

        • Anthony says:

          very likely outcome?? what are you talking about? Police shootings are a problem, but that’s because one is too many. you make it sound like most police encounters end in death, when that is obviously not the case (if it were the the prisons would be empty, wouldn’t they)

        • EricaC says:

          The likelihood was unacceptably high – but not a certainty by any means. When fighting the undeniable problem of bias – conscious or unconscious – in policing, it is important not to give those who deny its existence and excuse to dismiss the issue by making arguments that are untrue on their face. Statistics are hard for most people to understand, but this one is obviously wrong.

    3. Dog catcher.... says:

      Yeah, She confessed that she lied and she may be facing some community time for a false police report.

    4. UWS_lifer says:

      It only takes 60 seconds to ruin someone’s life…sometimes even less.

    5. Bob Lamm says:

      If Ms. Cooper publicly admits wrongdoing and goes into an educational program about harmful racist conduct, then I believe it’s OK for her not to serve prison time. As I recall, Christian Cooper, her victim, said he didn’t want to see Ms. Cooper imprisoned. But here’s what else should happen: Ms. Cooper’s attorney, the odious Robert Barnes, needs to go into the educational program with her. His comments are disgusting. No one “misunderstood” the dangers for Mr. Cooper resulting from Ms. Cooper’s false statements.

    6. Darryl says:

      This is a Hate crime , plain and simple . She should do jail time

    7. Sender says:

      What Amy Cooper did was so bad that I think she receive as much jail time as Tawana Brawley, Crystal Mangum (the false accuser in the Duke lacrosse team hoax), and Jussie Smollett–combined!

      In other words, she should receive no jail time.

      • sg says:

        Excellent comment Sender, even though what she did didn’t cause any harm other than “hurt feelings”. A man killed himself because of Tawana’s lie and several young men’s lives were much more negatively impacted by Crystal’s. Al Sharpton should have been charged for his pushing the Tawana hoax…and for unpaid taxes too. What double standards!

    8. Sender says:

      Commenters Lynn and Bob Lamm misunderstand the role of a criminal defense attorney. The attorney must give the client the most vigorous and effective defense possible within the law. To do any less would be an ethical violation. The attorney’s personal opinion about the case is irrelevant. If an attorney cannot do this, he or she must decline the case. If this seems wrong to you, imagine that you were accused of a crime. You would want an attorney who was completely on your side.

      • Otis says:

        Exactly. Everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense no matter what they’re accused of and no matter what evidence is presented against them and no matter what their lawyer’s personal opinions are.

        This is the foundation of our legal system.

        • lynn says:

          I’m sure Amy Cooper’s attorney would insist that the calls made by his client to the police were simply ‘untruths,’ and his client was the victim of ‘cancel culture,’ even if the outcome had been different for Christian Cooper. I didn’t misunderstand anything.

          • Otis says:

            Amy Cooper’s lawyer has a professional obligation to look out for her best interests.

            He is allowed to do whatever he can – short of lying – to get the best outcome for her.

            Whatever Ms Cooper did is besides the point. You don’t seem to understand this.

    9. M. Douglas Kaufman says:

      This woman must not only repent but accept the fact that she needs counseling. She obviously lied because she knew her assertions were exaggerated. Maybe her dog should go to someone more stable and responsible. Too bad she won’t serve even a short jail sentence. A dose of reality might have been helpful in stabilizing her.

      • Ruth Bonnet says:

        I believe her dog was taken back from her by the shelter for a while. She has it back now, I think.

    10. Amy Cooper is still playing victim. She has learned nothing. She deserves jail time; not volunteer work.

      • Sender says:

        Fortunately, criminal sentences are decided in accordance with law and precedent, not by people’s emotional reaction to what a defendant may have done.

        The crime for which she was charged is a misdemeanor. Since she has no previous criminal record, a jail sentence would be unusual and unjust. The fact that she is unpopular doesn’t change that.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        She’ll never learn, she’s mentally ill. Just because she is a functioning member of society with a job and home doesn’t mean she’s off in the head. We all know people like that here in NYC.

    11. Pat says:

      What she did was stupid. But where did Christian Cooper have the right to involve himself in her dog walk in the first place? What authority did he have to demand she leash her dog? He looks a bit “bougie” to me. His video only starts with her hysterical rant and not his initial encounter. Why did he post the video and then hit every talk show he could with his sister who wasn’t even there? What did he say and how did he say it , to get her that upset in the first place? Central Park also has way too many restricted areas and fences even for humans!!

      • EricaC says:

        He had the same right the rest of us have to call people out for breaking the law, particularly when she and her dog were causing damage to a protected environment.

        Speaking of “bougie” – your comment seems pretty bougie …