Hey Remember Amy Cooper? Turns Out She's Worse Than Anyone Knew
Back in May, Amy Cooper aimed the cops at Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper in Central Park, and would've pulled the trigger if he hadn't filmed her lies. The backlash was swift. Ms. Cooper lost her job, her dog, and access to the outside. She was also charged with filing a false police report.
Mr. Cooper felt real bad for her because she apologized (kinda) for ... hold on, let me find her BS statement ... using the police as her personal “protection agency," which is a privilege only white people enjoy.
I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash. I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause."
Mr. Cooper accepted whatever that was and even refused to cooperate in the prosecution's investigation. The inevitable slap on her dainty wrist might leave a bruise.
New York prosecutors don't share Mr. Cooper's kumbaya tendencies, so Ms. Cooper still has to answer for her crimes. She appeared remotely Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court, where she's negotiating a plea deal that could keep her out of jail. However, senior prosecutor Joan Illuzzi dropped the bomb that Ms. Cooper made a "second, previously unreported" call to 911 that was even worse.
ILLUZI: The defendant twice reported that an African American man was putting her in danger, first by stating that he was threatening her and her dog, then making a second call indicating that he tried to assault her in the Ramble area of the park.
Just a quick refresher for everyone too busy sheltering in place to recall the specifics: Mr. Cooper asked Ms. Cooper to leash her dog in a section of the park where that's required. (Dogs and birds aren't on the best terms.) This somehow escalated into Ms. Cooper calling 911 and claiming that an “African-American man" was threatening her. She repeatedly mentioned his race while raising her voice and delivering one of the five best “scared white lady" performances of the theatrical season.
At best, she wanted him to retreat from the scene, even though he'd done nothing wrong. He had no rights that she was bound to respect. However, the second call makes it clear that Ms. Cooper wanted to punish this Black man who presumed to tell her what to do. She sought to use her fear as a blunt instrument.
Amy Cooper tried to cast Christian Cooper as the Central Park One. That's horrific. If he even managed to survive an encounter with the NYPD — always a big “if" — he could've wound up doing hard time. She wasn't going to back down on her false charges, and you can bet she would have cooperated with prosecutors.
But what's done is done, and the Constitution clearly states that every white woman who fucks up big deserves a second chance. That's what keeps Melania Trump hanging on.
Still, Ms. Illuzzi told the court that the Manhattan district attorney's office was exploring a resolution to the case that would require Ms. Cooper to publicly take responsibility for her actions in court and attend a program to educate her on how harmful they were.
"We hope this process will enlighten, heal and prevent similar harm to our community in the future," Ms. Illuzzi said.
Illuzi talks about preventing "similar harm to our community," but this was distinctly an attack on Mr. Cooper as a Black man. Ms. Cooper assumed because of his race that he was powerless to defend himself from her false charges and, most importantly, the police would take her word over his. She knew he wouldn't receive the Brock Turner or Brett Kavanaugh treatment.
Presumably, Ms. Cooper will have to attend some anti-racist community college and earn her GED in not getting Black men killed. It's a rigorous course where you're exposed to such advanced concepts as “Black Lives Matter" and that Black people don't deserve a prison rap or death because they dared ask you to leash your dog. That's a lot of learn, so let's hope a couple hours a week for a few months will do the trick.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).