D.A. Drops Case Against Amy Cooper After She Completes Restorative Justice Program

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office dropped charges of filing a false report against Upper West Sider Amy Cooper on Tuesday, after Cooper completed a five-course restorative justice program.

Cooper was charged after calling police on a Black birdwatcher named Christian Cooper (no relation) in Central Park last May, and claiming she was being threatened. Christian had stopped Amy to ask her to put a leash on her dog. She refused, and he began filming her. Her agitated call to the police saying an “African-American man” was “threatening me and my dog” was criticized for putting Christian’s life in danger. Amid the firestorm, she lost her job at Franklin Templeton.

Buzzfeed reported that the judge accepted the D.A.’s request to dismiss the case.

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.

NEWS | 38 comments | permalink
    1. Otis says:

      This woman is more of a person to be pitied than despised. She apologized and partook in therapy sessions.

      Let’s move on.

      • Heather says:

        Totally, lets just let another privileged white person off the hook for the systemic racism so prevalent in our society because she went to five therapy sessions and learned how not to be outwardly racist. AWESOME!!!

        • Boris says:

          She probably learned a lot more than the repeat offenders who have been arrested and released multiple times for crimes involving actual bodily harm or aggravated assault. It seems to me that everyone flips out when they hear about someone with a long rap sheet committing yet another crime. Yet her release after one incident is the problem.

        • Mary Alford says:

          Thank you, Heather. I hope your tone will not be lost upon some of the other commenters.

        • sg says:

          Systemic racism…what nonsense.

        • sg says:

          Nonsense…systemic racism is a fiction current being peddled. No doubt you had no problem with Chris Cooper’s goading the woman.

          • Heather says:

            As someone who has been followed in a store for simple shopping while black, I can tell you systemic racism is not nonsense. It is literally an almost daily part of my life.

          • EricaC says:

            Goading her? She was in the wrong from start to finish, and then tried to get the police to come and take him down in what she knew could have resulted in his being dead – all because she was so entitled that she thought HE was in the wrong for pointing out that she was breaking the law and putting bird species at risk.

            I think restorative justice is a good thing, and this probably is a good place to apply it, and Chris Cooper’s comments (when he declined to participate in the prosecution) suggest he would agree as well.

            But seriously – what she did could have resulted in death or serious injury, just like a mugger. She should be grateful that Chris Cooper was willing to extend to her the grace that I wish some of you folks would extend to others.

        • Jane says:

          As soon as Mr. Cooper said “You’re not gonna like what I’m gonna do next” in his own recording, no sane jury was ever going to find her guilty of anything. He openly threatened her.

          There’s no “systemic racism” here.

        • To Heather says:

          How would you have liked the DA to proceed? The person on the other end of the interaction wouldn’t press charges and she had no prior criminal history.

          I’m not sure why anyone is surprised by how this turned out

      • Juliette says:

        Pretend for a moment that instead of this being a black man and white woman that it was a person in your family being falsely accused for something and police where called. An the the accuser appeared more historically credible than your family member. Would you move on then? Now pretend that the outcome was worse and your family member shot, killed, paralyzed, or something just as bad. Would you let it go then? Would you say, “Let’s move on.”

      • Annik says:

        I agree. Please let’s move on. She lost everything.

    2. AintThisACountry says:

      And Chris Cooper walks away scot-free, even though he instigated the incident by threatening her and her dog, feeding her dog a “treat” without permission.

      Ain’t this a country.

      • Sarah says:

        He didn’t, and her lying to the cops about the encounter could’ve gotten him killed, but of course the facts will just morph in your brain to whatever version most supports your bigotry.

        You’re just going to have to deal with its being a country where white women can’t arrange lynchings because someone asked them to keep their dog on-leash in an on-leash area.

        • Peggy says:

          Why don’t they ever show the footage of HIS reaction? He is always portrayed as the victim. Not exactly even-handed reporting.

        • Mary Alford says:

          You are absolutely correct, Sarah.

        • Buddy Revell says:

          Pretty sad WSR will post comments like this but totally censor conservative views. This is becoming no better than Twitter. Be better Rag…

      • The Girl Next Door says:

        Sincere question(s), 1) Did you watch the FULL video Christian posted and if so 2) Can you provide details as to what made you think Christian instigated it? I’m having trouble seeing your perspective when the conversation started by him asking her to leash her dog (because that is the rule in the ramble – because people there birdwatch)

      • Annik says:

        Yes, and she will be followed and tormented for the rest of her life because she fearfully reacted to some stranger.

        • lynn says:

          Who walks TOWARD a person that they’re allegedly afraid of and get in their face and becomes confrontational? CC asked AC NOT to come close to him. AC called the police a 2nd time to say she was assaulted. Why is this being ignored?! I don’t think it was a ‘fearful’ reaction, as much as it was an indignant one.

        • Tara says:

          If she was really afraid she would’ve run away. She was not afraid at all. She wanted to punish him for having the temerity to ask her to respect the rules of the park when she believed her privilege made her exempt. Scared people do not continue a confrontation, they escape.

      • EricaC says:

        Wait – you’re suggesting that offering a treat to a dog is the equivalent of trying to get someone killed or arrested? When the dog was coming to him, not vice versa? When it all would not have happened if she had been following the law?

        • Charly says:

          He said I’m going to do something and you are not going to like, which to means it may not be a safe “treat. “ That to me is a threat no matter who said it. She was absolutely wrong and instigated the altercation, but he’s not totally innocent either. Smoking in the park is illegal and I tell people that when I see them doing that. I don’t hang around with a a spray bottle threatening to put out the cigarette.

    3. Kiles says:

      Let’s all hope she comes out from these therapy sessions as an anti-racist advocate…

      Now, on separate, more local note… We need some off-leash areas in Central Park. In most cases, having dogs off leash works totally fine as long as people are respectful enough to pick up poop and their dogs are respectful of people/animals in the park (i.e. not letting dogs disturb park birds as was the case during this incident). I take my dog to exercise after 9pm (off-leash hours) but as a smaller woman I don’t feel comfortable doing this without my male partner being with me… there has to be a safer solution to this dog owner/birdwatcher conflict that doesn’t involve white women crying crocodile tears to the racist NYPD.

      • Upperwestsider says:

        Just an FYI to post the OFF-LEASH Dog Rules for Central Park:

        OFF-LEASH Hours:
        6 A.M. to 9 A.M and from
        9 P.M. to 1 A.M.

        Dogs must be ON-LEASH at all times from:
        9 A.M. until 9 P.M.

        DOGS MUST ALWAYS BE ON-LEASH in the 2 large woodlands:
        The Ramble and The North Woods/Ravine

        The Sheep Meadow, Great Lawn Oval and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary

    4. s says:

      What she did was wrong, but do you know how many dangerous repeat offenders mostly men who are walking around freely in NYC due to bail reform. She’s not a physical threat. She lost her job, was supposed to do community service, was publicly shamed. What more do you want. Jail time?

    5. KittyH says:

      This all goes back to her having her dog off leash where it is not permitted, causing a disturbance. True enough, this woman has probably paid adequately for the offense for which she was charged, but has she refrained from allowing her dog off-leash where it is not legally allowed? It would be good if she has learned from the past.

    6. Mary Alford says:

      This certainly seems to be another shameless, racist acquittal. Christian Cooper could have been killed by police acting without provocation or justification, as happens frequently here and elsewhere, based just on her overblown accusation and hysteria performance. People in the wrong lash out as a defense, but it appears that unbalanced Amy Cooper knowingly attempted to set up such a dangerous situation. No therapist could have a true progressive influence on her; of course she professed contrition and “enlightenment,” and possibly will behave more civilly in public.

    7. Juliette says:

      That’s Crap, it’s just another what that her privilege has gotten her ahead because In New York, making a false report is a criminal offense under NY PL 240.50, 240.55, and 240.60 & can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.(Which did she get?) Also, Manhattan D.A. stated that his office intends to offer restorative justice as a diversion for misdemeanor cases and as an option for violent crimes when combined with a jail sentence. (But did she get this combination?) No where did it say a cause could be dropped. No who will do reporting to see how many people of color got this same treatment during this same time frame?

    8. Acacio Flores says:

      Joan Iluzzi, the prosecutor in this case, ran for Staten Island DA and has been a lifelong Staten Islander. We can’t trust ANYONE from Staten Island to deliver on racial justice issues!

    9. Chrigid says:

      This therapist could establish world peace in a matter of weeks.

    10. Chris says:

      I think she is awful and a total B but she did lose her job in this and temporarily her dog and im sure racked up a bunch of legal bills and got much public hate so she did not get off free.

    11. rteplow says:

      Chris Cooper himself supported exactly the treatment she received and didn’t want to aid in her prosecution. I’m generally supportive of restorative justice as an alternative to harsh prison sentences. BUT I hope that option is just as available to people of color.

      That said, I can’t understand how so many people here can’t see how Amy Cooper was not the aggressor here. She knew exactly what she was doing. Chris Cooper could have been killed.

      • Boris says:

        Saying Chris Cooper could have been killed is such a vacuous and disgusting remark. Like many other popular memes, this one is being used far too excessively in situations that it’s highly unlikely there will be any confusion and inappropriate police action. Screaming wolf constantly diminished real threats.

      • rteplow says:

        oops – double negative!

    12. AC says:

      For those unaware, the DA’s office approached and got Chris’ approval before offering this deal to Amy. They knew the public would be chiming. Chris, the bird watcher, was never looking to punish her or cast her as an example. If anything, totally opposite, he was looking to educate her and the several others who continue with racial bias.

      Notwithstanding the above, based on the facts of what took place and what was verbally exchanged between the two, I do believe he threatened her by saying, “you’re not going to like it” with regards to his actions. Then by trying to lure her dog away from her by offering the pooch treats. What cast her as the villain from the onset was that his camp controlled the narrative from the beginning. His sister, going to social media that same day, helped them control how the story was told and interpreted. Controlling the story was key!

    13. Molly says:

      Neither of these people were really having their best day as a community member when they encountered each other in the park. I cant believe a thread arguing about this is still getting comments. At some point can we discuss the addiction to indignant rage that seems to define America’s culture at this point? What the h*ll is going on with this? Nobody can disagree anymore without excess vitriol, name calling and threats. Why????