We all know that Amy Cooper, aka Central Park “Karen,” deserves to be treated like she hoped police would treat the Black man who she falsely accused of threatening her life on that fateful Memorial Day afternoon. But amid a nationwide push for reforming law enforcement, should she still be treated that way?
That seemed to be the prevailing question as Christian Cooper — who is not related to his accuser and was simply out watching birds in Central Park when he had the police called on him through no fault of his own — has apparently decided against cooperating with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which announced on Monday it was prosecuting Amy Cooper.
“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” Christian Cooper said Tuesday, according to the New York Times. “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.”
In case that wasn’t clear enough, he continued: “So if the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me.”
Aside from his apparent embrace of street culture’s “stop snitching” credo that refers to working with law enforcement, Christian Cooper’s attitude seemed to match that of Josie Duffy Rice, a Black woman media executive whose Twitter thread on Monday offered a unique take on the case amid cheers for Amy Cooper to suffer.
Rice, a graduate of Harvard Law School as well as the president of The Appeal, a news website covering “policy, politics, and the legal system impact America’s most vulnerable people,” offered some food for thought when she tweeted that charging Amy Cooper was unnecessary.
“We don’t have to charge Amy Cooper, and we shouldn’t charge Amy Cooper,” Rice posted.
In a lengthy thread, she argued that charging her actually lent credence to a criminal justice system that has done wrong by so many people — especially Black people — for so long. So, in other words, by co-signing prosecution for a nonviolent crime, people who want to see the worst for Amy Cooper shouldn’t have a problem when a Black person faces the same level of law enforcement.
Of course, the flip side to the argument is that by calling the cops, Amy Cooper indirectly threatened Christian Cooper’s life, what with the myriad examples of NYPD brutalizing and killing Black suspects for less. The only way to teach Amy Cooper a lesson, people have argued on social media, is by throwing the proverbial book at her.
The police killing of George Floyd has given way to a nationwide effort to defund, disband and reimagine police departments and law enforcement as a whole. Anyone who supports that kind of structural and systemic change should, in theory, also be in favor of not charging Amy Cooper for the kind of nonviolent misdemeanor that many times results in the vigorous prosecution of a Black suspect.
In case you somehow missed it, Christian Cooper was in a portion of Central Park called the Ramble where bird-watching is popular. That’s when he saw Amy Cooper with her dog off the leash, a violation of city law and park policy. When he asked her to put her dog on a leash, she responded by calling the police while clumsily putting the leash on her dog, which, the video showed, was being dragged, lifted and possibly choked by the tether. That’s when Christian Cooper pulled out his phone and started recording her.
“I’m gonna tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she said almost triumphantly in a moment where she apparently realizes she still may have the upper hand in a situation for which she was to blame but still attempted to manipulate with her white privilege.
Revisit the unfortunate encounter against below.
Of course, Amy Cooper was later outed by social media sleuths outraged at her behavior and offered what came across as a hollow apology before animal rescue confiscated her dog and she was fired from her lucrative position at a prominent hedge fund.
Should that be the end of it for her? Christian Cooper says yes while the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office says yes.