Charges dismissed after white woman in Central Park birdwatcher incident completes education program

MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- Charges against the white woman who called the cops on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park were dismissed Tuesday after she completed a restorative justice program.

The program reported to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office that Amy Cooper attended five sessions.

The program was a "moving experience," the program reported to the DA's office, according to prosecutor Joan Illuzzi.

It was meant to teach Cooper that "racial identities shape our lives but we cannot use them to harm ourselves and others," Illuzzi said during a brief virtual court appearance in which Cooper appeared by videoconference.

Cooper's record will be sealed "consistent with every other dismissal."

Cooper's attorney Robert Barnes released a statement on the dismissed charges.

"After a thorough & honest inquiry, the New York DA's office dismissed all charges today against Amy Cooper. We thank them for their integrity and concur with the outcome. Others rushed to the wrong conclusion based on inadequate investigation and they may yet face legal consequences."

The Black, Latino and Asian Caucus also released a statement and said they are livid:

"We are livid at the Manhattan District Attorney's office for halting its prosecution of Amy Cooper, which serves to validate the notion that white privilege shields offenders like her from penalties justice-involved persons of color would otherwise be subject. It defies comprehension that the DA criminally charged Ms. Cooper for maliciously using the 9-1-1 system to weaponize another parkgoer's blackness only to ultimately grant her leniency in the name of 'restorative justice.' This decision is insulting, injurious and infuriating to the countless Black men who find themselves on the receiving end of dubious, racially bigoted claims like those made by Ms. Cooper, and again demonstrates that the law offers no relief for aggrieved Black people in America. We demand that the City's Commission on Human Rights come to a swift resolution of its investigation into Amy Cooper, and produce a finding that results in civil penalties being imposed on her as a means of deterring anyone who would dare make false incident claims motivated by racial hostility."

Cooper was walking her dog in Central Park on May 25 when she falsely reported a Black bird watcher Christian Cooper threatened her.

It was "objectively not true," Illuzzi said, and put police in a position "where they thought that Mr. Cooper had tried to assault the defendant."

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