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Charge dropped against white woman who called police on Black bird-watcher

Charge dropped against white woman who called police on Black bird-watcher

The criminal case against a white woman caught on video calling police to claim a Black bird-watcher was threatening her in Central Park was dropped o

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The criminal case against a white woman caught on video calling police to claim a Black bird-watcher was threatening her in Central Park was dropped on Tuesday.

Prosecutors in Manhattan Supreme Court announced they were no longer pursuing a misdemeanor charge against Amy Cooper, who was accused of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

She completed five “psychoeducation and therapy” sessions, according to Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, who also cited Cooper’s clean criminal history before asking the court to drop the charge.

“Ms. Cooper’s therapist reported that it was a moving experience and that Ms. Cooper learned a lot in their sessions together,” Illuzzi told the court, according to the Manhattan DA. “Having completed the restorative justice program to our satisfaction, we now move to dismiss.”

The sessions helped Cooper “appreciate that racial identities shape our lives” and that “we cannot use them to harm ourselves or others,” Illuzzi said.

“Ms. Cooper’s therapist reported that it was a moving experience and that Ms. Cooper learned a lot in their sessions together,” the prosecutor added.

But Cooper’s defense lawyer struck a more defiant tone in a statement issued after court. While thanking prosecutors “for their integrity,” attorney Robert Barnes lashed out via Twitter.

“Others rushed to the wrong conclusion based on inadequate investigation & they may yet face legal consequences,” Barnes tweeted.

Cooper’s case made national headlines in late May when she came upon bird-watcher Christian Cooper while walking her off-leash dog in Central Park.

Christian Cooper, who is not related to Amy Cooper, asked the woman to put her dog on a leash and offered the pooch a dog treat before she called police. Christian Cooper recorded the encounter with Amy Cooper. The footage made the rounds on social media and drew widespread outrage as an example of police being called on an African American who was not committing any crime.

“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper could be heard saying in the viral video. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

Christian Cooper declined comment on the case when reached by NBC News on Tuesday.

“Mr. Cooper did not wish to participate in the criminal justice process but we determined that the defendant’s offense wasn’t solely against one individual but was a threat to the community if allowed to go unchecked,” Illuzzi said.

“The simple principle is that one cannot use the police to threaten another and in this case, in a racially offensive and charged manner. Given the issues at hand and Ms. Cooper’s lack of criminal background, we offered her, consistent with our position on many misdemeanor cases involving a first arrest, an alternative, restorative justice resolution; designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing.”

Kelcey Henderson and Janelle Griffith contributed.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Nbcnews.com

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