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  • Skyla Jewell-Hammie

Charges Dropped on White Woman Arrested for Harassment, After Completing "Racial Bias" Training

Updated: Apr 6, 2021




On February 16, 2021, the Manhatten District Attorney's Office announced that the misdemeanor criminal charge against Amy Cooper has been dropped because she “successfully” completed “education and therapy classes” on racial equity, according to CNN.

In the video she is heard saying,” I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” while Christian Cooper stands calmy, trying to deescalate the situation.er, started to record the harassment where Ms. Cooper is seen calling the police and threatening harmful lies about the innocent man.


In the video she is heard saying,” I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” while Christian Cooper stands calmly, trying to deescalate the situation.

Christian Cooper is known in the NYC community as an “avid bird-watcher,” according to a report by CNN. In the early hours, you can often find him wandering the Ramble in Central Park.


This section of the park is a 36-acre woodland, home to over 230 bird species that roam the surrounding forest gardens, according to the Central Park Conservancy.


Christian Cooper was in the park on May 25, 2020, in the morning sunshine, when he noticed a dog roaming the grounds without a leash on. According to Christian, it is important for bird-watchers to watch for park protocols that involve leash regulations, per a report by CNN.To him and many other bird-watching enthusiasts, ground-dwelling birds should be able to roam freely without the worry of a dog and its owner unaware of their surroundings, per a report from CNN.


But to Amy Cooper, the actions of Christian attempted to give out dog treats are what prompted her to go the route of making a false report. After the video was released, Ms. Cooper was fired by her employer promptly and proceeded to make excuses for the incident.


But, taking a class on racial equity completely resolves a racist and dangerous incident, right? In an open statement to the Manhatten District Court, Assistant DA Joan Illuzzi believes Ms. Cooper is a perfect example of a “restorative justice resolution.”


“We offered her, consistent with our position on many misdemeanor cases involving the first arrest, an alternative…designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing,” Illuzzi explained in court, according to CNN.


Now, this is where white privilege is ever so eminent. Amy Cooper knew exactly what she was doing, and in response, the Manhattan District’s Office pities her. An incentive to restore the justice system is pushed hard for white women, but why wasn't the same incentive used for the countless cases of Black people silenced by the justice system? Where is the “restorative” process there?


If there was a lack of video footage posted to social media, who knows what would have happened to Christian Cooper. On the phone, she says that a Black man is threatening her and her dog. They are already in a secluded area, during a time where the self-restraint of some NYPD officers is non-existent.


Amy Cooper knew what she was doing at that moment, and the apologies she has now is only because it was caught on tape.


Resources:

Levenson, Eric. “Charge against Amy Cooper Dropped after Completing Racial Bias Education Program.” CNN, Cable News Network, 16 Feb. 2021, www.cnn.com/2021/02/16/us/amy-cooper-birdwatching-charge/index.html.


“The Ramble.” Central Park Conservancy, www.centralparknyc.org/locations/the-ramble.


Vera, Amir. “White Woman Who Called Police on a Black Man Bird-Watching in Central Park Has Been Fired.” CNN, Cable News Network, 26 May 2020, www.cnn.com/2020/05/26/us/central-park-video-dog-video-african-american-trnd/index.html.

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