The gay birdwatcher who was the target of hysterical threats by ‘Central Park Karen’ Amy Cooper says he won’t be participating in her prosecution since she’s “already paid a steep price.”
Cooper became infamous in May when she encountered Christian Cooper (no relation) in a quiet part of Central Park.
A Harvard graduate who works in communications, Mr. Cooper is on the board of the New York Audubon Society and an avid bird watcher.
Just before 8 a.m. on May 25, Mr. Cooper’s birdwatching was interrupted by Ms. Cooper who was calling loudly after her unleashed dog. When he asked her to put the dog on a leash as park rules require, she refused.
As the incident escalated, she called the police claiming “an African-American man is threatening my life.”
In the aftermath of the encounter, she lost her dog and her job as well as being publicly shamed. Since the video was posted to Twitter, the clip has been viewed over 44 million times.
The New York Times reports the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged Ms. Cooper on Monday “with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.”
Remember Racist Amy Cooper, 💡💡💡the white woman in Central Park who called police on a Black man who was bird watching… Well… she’s being charged with filing a false report pic.twitter.com/atgsUCDPBm #KarensGoneWild #Karenisgoingtojail #BlackLivesMattter
— san (@sanosbo1) July 6, 2020
But Mr. Cooper, who is openly gay, says he has not been involved in the investigation and doesn’t plan on taking part in her prosecution.
“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” Mr. Cooper said in a statement to the Times. “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.”
“If the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges,” he added. “But he can do that without me.”
Ms. Cooper’s attorney, Robert Barnes, predicts his client will be found not guilty for what he characterized as a “misunderstood 60-second video.”
“She lost her job, her home, and her public life,” Mr. Barnes said in a statement to the Times. “Now some demand her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?”
Most cases of filing a false police report don’t end up with charges filed as the police generally want citizens to report crimes.
Legal analysts say in this case, the racial component as well as the strong evidence makes for broader implications in regard to future instances of white people calling in false police reports against Black people.
In June, Good Morning America produced this profile of Mr. Cooper, his love of birding, and his take on the now-infamous incident.