Most of you probably remember the bizarre tale of Amy Cooper, the “Central Park Karen” who called 911 on a Black man who was birdwatching in the park. We hadn’t really heard much more about the situation since early July when it was revealed that Christian Cooper (the birdwatcher… no relation) was not going to cooperate with the prosecution of Amy on charges of False Reporting. It seemed as if that might dampen the state’s enthusiasm for going after her, but apparently not. Charges were indeed filed and Cooper drew the same prosecutor who prosecuted Harvey Weinstein on rape charges previously. The story has taken another remarkable twist, however. Prosecutors revealed for the first time the existence of a second 911 call that Cooper placed that day. In that call, she claimed that the birdwatcher tried to assault her. In court, she admitted that the far more serious charge was not true. Cooper has made her first (virtual) court appearance and is currently trying to cut a deal that will keep her from spending time behind bars. (NY Post)
Amy Cooper — the Central Park “Karen” who sparked international outrage when she called the cops on a black birdwatcher who asked her to leash her dog — is hammering out a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison time, it was revealed in court Wednesday.
Cooper, 41, her expression as grim as the black turtleneck she wore, was arraigned virtually on one count of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree — a charge that carries up to one year in jail.
“Using the police in a way that is both racially offensive and designed to intimidate is something that can’t be ignored therefore we charged her,” said Assistant DA Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, who prosecuted Harvey Weinstein. “This process can be an opportunity for introspection and education.”
My first impression after hearing about the arraignment was that the state was trying to make an example out of Cooper to show how socially woke they are. Yes, filing a false report is a serious matter and it’s legitimately a crime. But at the same time, this is not how the criminal justice system would typically handle something like this. Cooper is a first offender with no criminal record. She also didn’t even have a record of previously making spurious 911 calls. For a first offense that’s only listed as a third-degree violation, she would typically only get a fine and possibly some community service, if that.
But with the revelation of the second call, the entire story shifts gears. Now it’s not only a case of making multiple false reports, but she could be viewed as having tried to get Christian Cooper framed on an assault charge. With that fact having been exposed, jail time might not be off the table after all.
I still have to wonder what’s up with bringing in a prosecutor of Joan Illuzzi-Orbon’s level for such a minor offense, though. Even knowing about the second call, it seems pretty obvious that they want to blow this up for the social justice value it carries. Cooper may still avoid jail, but she’ll be put into some sort of “rehabilitation and education” programs to learn about racism, multiculturalism, and all the rest. And the media will probably be tagging along the entire time. That’s not to say it’s completely uncalled for, though. She did bring this on herself. But I think she’s still going to wind up paying a much higher cost (in addition to the damage she’s already taken) than anyone else would have if this hadn’t turned into a national story and a massive social media meme-generator.
I’ll admit that I had some questions about what really happened in the park that day when the story first broke, mostly because it just sounded almost too strange to be true. But at this point, if there were something more menacing going on than birdwatching, that would have come out by now. Instead, the reverse is being proven. It was Amy Cooper who was up to something nefarious, even if she did it on the spur of the moment. It seemed difficult to believe that a woman – even a White “Karen” who is easily alarmed at the site of a Black pedestrian – would be dumb enough to make a bogus 911 call when she obviously knew that Christian Cooper was filming her. She either wasn’t thinking clearly or she’s not very bright.
I was also originally unsure why Christian Cooper was refusing to cooperate with the investigation. I missed the boat on that one as well. It sounds like he really was just trying to do the Christian thing (no pun intended) and say that the woman had been punished enough already by losing her job and facing public condemnation. But the state obviously sees things differently, and potentially for good reason. As much as she undoubtedly wishes otherwise, Central Park Karen’s fifteen minutes of fame is clearly not over yet.