Focusing on charging Amy Cooper lets white people off the hook from all that. They can scream for her head while leaving their own prejudices unexamined. They can push for her prosecution and pat themselves on the back for having done something about racism, when they’ve actually done nothing, and their own Amy Cooper remains only one purse-clutch in the presence of a black man away.

Those concerns must be weighed against what prosecuting the case means for us black people. I appreciate that it is important to uphold the principle of law, and that those who try to turn racism to their advantage by filing false claims against a person of color should be held accountable. But note that laws against filing a false police report are already on the books and will remain enforceable, whether applied in this case or not.

Finally, I believe in punishments that are commensurate with the wrongdoing. Considering that Amy Cooper has already lost her job and her reputation, it’s hard to see what is to be gained by a criminal charge, aside from the upholding of principle. If her current setbacks aren’t deterrent enough to others seeking to weaponize race, it’s unlikely the threat of legal action would change that. Meanwhile, for offenders who don’t suffer consequences like Cooper’s, the law is still there to exact a price.