Last time we checked in on Amy Cooper of “Central Park Karen” fame, she was working with her attorney to try to avoid jail time on a charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. If convicted, she could have faced up to a year in jail. Today we learned that the negotiations worked out to everyone’s satisfaction. After completing some court-ordered therapy sessions, she appeared back in court and the charge against her was dismissed. So is this the end of the story at long last? Possibly, but it’s not a sure thing. (NY Post)
Misdemeanor charges were dismissed Tuesday against Amy Cooper, the so-called “Central Park Karen” who falsely accused a black birdwatcher of “threatening” her.
She had faced up to a year in prison on a single charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.
A judge granted Manhattan prosecutors’ request to toss Cooper’s case after she completed five therapy sessions “designed for introspection and progress,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon at a brief virtual hearing.
Cooper declined to offer any comment while facing the judge, which was probably a smart move on her part.
She was sent for five therapy sessions at a place called “Critical Therapy Center.” There she received what are being described as “psychoeducation and therapy services.” The sessions focused on racial equality and offered an opportunity for “understanding and reflection.”
Is that really all it takes to totally change someone’s mindset? If five sessions with a therapist can really flip the script on a lifetime of experiences and impressions, that’s some pretty impressive therapy. The main problem I have a hard time wrapping my head around is exactly what was going through her mind when she encountered birdwatcher Christian Cooper (no relation) in the park. It would be one thing if she was just intentionally calling emergency services to try to get a random Black pedestrian in trouble. But she sounded legitimately panicked.
Particularly in a place like New York City, you’re going to run into a very diverse population when you venture out of your home. If she freaked out that way every time she saw a Black person, she would never be off the phone. So what was it about that encounter with Christian Cooper that made her go totally over the edge? We’ve heard both of their stories by this point and Amy Cooper has admitted her guilt in making not one, but two calls to the hotline and lying about what Christain Cooper had been doing. It’s all just so bizarre.
The only reason I bring this up is that it seems at least possible that something similar might wind up playing out again. As I said, it would be truly remarkable if five therapy sessions with a counselor could entirely shift a person’s view of the world. If Amy Cooper makes one more call like the one that made her famous last year, she’ll wind up in jail. Will she be able to restrain herself the next time she encounters a Black person out on the streets? Or is she just going to stay out of Central Park for the rest of her life?
I suppose the punishment in this hearing was fair enough. Perhaps the court took into consideration that Cooper has totally wrecked her career and become fodder for jokes on late-night comedy shows. A few visits with a therapist on top of all that probably seemed like enough. And that’s particularly true when we remember that Christian Cooper didn’t even want her prosecuted in the first place.