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

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Tuesday, February 16, 2021
Charges dismissed against white woman who called cops on Black birdwatcher
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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.

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY -- 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.

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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."

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."