Christian Cooper, the black man who had the police called on him by a white woman for simply asking her to put her dog on a leash; says he believes Amy Cooper has suffered enough, and won’t be pursuing charges of his own, according to ‘The New York Times.’ “On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price. That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on,” he explains. “So if the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me.”
The Manhattan district attorney’s office has done just that. The DA says he has decided to move forward with the charges against Ms. Cooper—for filing a false police report, with or without Mr. Cooper’s cooperation. Since the viral Twitter video that has now garnered over 40 million views, Amy Cooper has lost her job, her dog, and been publicly shamed. Mr. Cooper says he believes, that’s consequence enough.
Social justice advocates like Josie Duffy Rice, the president of The Appeal, took to social media to explain that you can’t be “pro-police abolition,” but also for the prosecution of Cooper. “Ask yourself what criminal charges can do to Amy Cooper that hasn’t already been done? Has she not faced consequences? She did something absolutely horrible, and she lost her job, her dog, her personal business was on the front page of the paper,” Rice said in a tweet. She went on to explain that bringing criminal charges against Ms. Cooper legitimizes a criminal justice system that she considers to be flawed and racist. Others have pointed out that the only just consequence for wrongdoing shouldn’t be incarceration.
Still, many feel that Ms. Cooper’s decision to falsely report Mr. Cooper could have cost him his life, so they want her held responsible. “This isn’t just about Christian Cooper. The community has been harmed by the actions of Amy Cooper and, in order to rectify this, then the people of New York need to have their day in court, even if Christian Cooper is a reluctant witness,” says Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, a professor of constitutional law at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The incident took place on Memorial Day weekend when Mr. Cooper was bird watching in Central Park. When Ms. Cooper walked by, her dog was off its leash, and Mr. Cooper requested she leash it. She refused and said she would call the police and tell them that “an African-American man is threatening my life,” at which point he began filming. Ms. Cooper can be seen on video practically choking her dog with its own leash, and saying to the 911 operator in a false panicky voice, “I’m in the Ramble, there is a man, African-American. He has a bicycle helmet, and he is recording me and threatening me and my dog.” Then before hanging up, she once again adds, “I am being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately!”
Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., announced plans Monday to charge Ms. Cooper with filing a false police report. The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a year behind bars. If convicted, though, Cooper is likely to get off with only a conditional discharge, community service, or counseling. Her attorney, Robert Barnes, has said his client would fight the charge. She is due in court on October 14.