The criminal case against an American woman who called the police on an African-American man after being asked to put her dog on a leash has been dropped.
New York prosecutors had charged Amy Cooper – who was quickly dubbed the “Central Park Karen” – with filing a false police report after she accused Christian Cooper, an avid bird-watcher who is unrelated to her, of threatening her life in the New York park in May.
The incident, during which she twice called emergency line 911 claiming Mr Cooper had tried to attack her, was captured on a video that immediately went viral.
The fact Ms Cooper, who was facing a year in jail, had gone to five therapy sessions was enough for a judge to dismiss the misdemeanour charge against her on Wednesday morning (Australian time).
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi explained the therapy sessions were centred around helping her “appreciate that racial identities shape our lives but we cannot use them to harm ourselves or others”.
Because she does not have a criminal record, Ms Cooper was offered the opportunity to participate in the therapy as part of a restorative justice initiative, according to the prosecutor.
Ms Cooper’s lawyer, Robert Barnes, praised the decision and the district attorney’s office after “a thorough and honest inquiry”.
“We thank them for their integrity & concur w/ the outcome. Others rushed to the wrong conclusion based on inadequate investigation & they may yet face legal consequences,” Mr Barnes tweeted.
But he also suggested Ms Cooper may take her own legal action against those who “rushed to the wrong conclusion based on (an) inadequate investigation”.
Ms Cooper had been captured telling an emergency operator that Mr Cooper was threatening her and her dog, referring to him twice as “African-American”.
“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops … I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” she said.
The incident occurred a few hours before the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.
After video of the Central Park incident went viral, Ms Cooper was fired from her job at asset manager Franklin Templeton, and she publicly apologised.
“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she told CNN at the time.
Ms Cooper became known as “Karen” for making the false police report against a black man.