Birdwatcher "not cooperating" with police on Central Park Karen case

Birdwatcher "not cooperating" with police on Central Park Karen case

It was only yesterday that we learned the District Attorney in Manhattan was bringing charges against Amy Cooper, the now infamous Central Park Karen. At the time, I noted that the DA might have a hard time making those charges stick for a variety of reasons, aside from public support for continuing to dunk on Cooper seeming to wane. But the prosecutor’s job became even more difficult overnight. The “other Cooper” involving the original incident, birdwatcher Christian Cooper, has told reporters that he is refusing to cooperate in the investigation. Since he’s allegedly the aggrieved party, not to mention the only other witness to the events leading up to the 911 call, this development shoots a hole in the hull of the case. (NY Post)

The man at the center of the Central Park ‘Karen’ fiasco has said he will not cooperate with the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation, according to a new report.

Christian Cooper, told the New York Times on Tuesday that Amy Cooper, 41, has suffered enough since the May encounter that destroyed her career and reputation.

Amy Cooper was charged on Monday with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” Mr. Cooper, 57, told the paper, referring to the criminal charge. “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others?”

There are two ways to interpret this development. The more charitable angle would be to simply take Mr. Cooper at his word. He feels that the public humiliation Amy Cooper has suffered, combined with the loss of her job (and potentially her entire career) is more than sufficient punishment for her calling the cops on him. It’s a smart play for the birdwatcher no matter how this entire drama unfolds going forward. He gets to look like the bigger, more generous person who adopts a policy reminiscent of his first name (Christian) and forgives his transgressor while getting on with his life.

The alternative would have been to aggressively follow the case into court and testify against her. Then he would have come off looking rather petty as if he was trying to grind his heel into her back after she’d already taken a fairly serious figurative beating over an incident where neither of them wound up being physically injured and there probably weren’t very many police resources wasted in the end. And if the prosecution wound up failing to obtain a conviction, he walks away looking like the “loser” in the confrontation and he hands Karen a win.

Then there’s the somewhat more cynical explanation, though I’ll note upfront that we have no solid proof of this. As I pointed out yesterday, that video that Christian Cooper recorded is the only solid evidence we have to go on and it begins well after their argument began. Unless, of course, there was another video of what took place beforehand that he deleted off of his phone for some reason. If he was cooperating with the investigation, the police might have wanted to check out the phone for evidence.

Why would that matter? Because according to the Karen in question, the birdwatcher had been threatening to “lure away” her dog with pet treats while the pooch was off the leash. On the phone with the police dispatcher, she used the phrase “threatening my dog.” Now that may still turn out to be a bunch of malarkey, as one current presidential candidate might say. But if it’s not and more details were to come to light over the course of the prosecutor’s investigation, Christian Cooper loses the role of the victim/hero in this case pretty quickly and the entire picture changes.

Just for the record, I’m not hanging my hat on that theory. Amy Cooper strikes me as something of a nutjob and the birdwatcher comes off appearing very reasonable in his public remarks, so we should probably take him at his word. (Your mileage may vary.) But none of this changes the fact that we’re still talking about this story a month and a half after the original incident took place. What is it about this tale that’s so compelling? I don’t have an answer for that one, but I know I’m still clicking on the links every time it pops up.

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