Patterico's Pontifications

7/6/2020

Woman from Viral Central Park Video Criminally Charged in a Case of Prosecutorial Overreach

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 pm



As always, I speak for myself and not for my office. See the disclaimer on the sidebar? Now, with that out of the way:

New York Times:

When Amy Cooper, a white woman, called 911 from an isolated patch in Central Park where she was standing with her unleashed dog on Memorial Day, she said an “African-American man” was threatening her life, emphasizing his race to the operator.

Moments before Ms. Cooper made the call, the man, Christian Cooper, an avid bird-watcher, had asked her to leash her dog, and she had refused.

On Monday, Ms. Cooper was charged with filing a false report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, the latest fallout from an encounter that resonated across the country and provoked intense discussions about how Black people are harmed when sham reports to the police are made about them by white people.

That framing loads the dice nicely! The article assumes her report was a “sham” and constructs a narrative that the only issue is how we react to that sham.

Before we discuss why her phone call may not have been a sham at all, some throat-clearing is in order here, in this era of mob reactions and a total lack of reason. So here goes. I do not approve of the way either party handled this incident. I think Ms. Cooper made a racial thing out of it when, as far as I can tell, race should have had nothing to do with it. She should have had her dog on a leash. Sitting comfortably in my living room chair watching the video, my reaction is that I personally don’t think she ought to have felt threatened or that she should have called 911. And I think her threat to tell the police that an African American man was threatening her was despicable and, again, injected race into the situation when it shouldn’t have been.

But now that Ms. Cooper has been criminally charged it’s time to look at the other side of the coin. And it begins with looking at how people react when they are told: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.”

Kyle Smith at National Review presented the other side on May 27, and while I do not agree with his overall view of the case (that it was “Covington 2.0” which would make Ms. Cooper entirely innocent and the wholly wronged party) nor with several aspects of what I am about to quote, it seems beyond dispute that it sets forth some uncomfortable facts about the way Mr. Cooper behaved by his own admission:

News accounts have repeatedly characterized Ms. Cooper as having “threatened” Mr. Cooper. That is the opposite of what happened. We know this because of Mr. Cooper’s helpful Facebook post on the matter, from which I quote:

ME: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.”

HER: “What’s that?”

ME [to the dog]: “Come here, puppy!”

HER: “He won’t come to you.”

ME: “We’ll see about that.” . . . I pull out the dog treats I carry for just such intransigence. I didn’t even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog.

Possibly it was an overreaction for Ms. Cooper to call the police. Then again, when citizens feel threatened, calling the police and letting them sort it out is what is supposed to happen. What Mr. Cooper said to her was unmistakably a threat. It was reasonable for her to be scared. “I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it”? That’s a menacing thing to say. He then called the dog over while offering it a treat. He meant her to think he was going to poison her dog to motivate her to leash the animal. By his own admission, he said something calculated to frighten her. Apparently, he does this all the time; he carries dog treats while birding “for just such intransigence.” If there were no threat linked to his offering the dog a snack, he would not have prefaced this action by saying, “You’re not going to like it.” He didn’t say, “Look, let’s be reasonable here, I’ll even give your dog a nice snack to show I mean well.” Mr. Cooper intended to scare Ms. Cooper, he succeeded, and in her fear she called the cops.

I assume that Kyle Smith is accurately quoting the Facebook post in question; I have never seen the post itself but neither have I seen this account disputed. I actually agree that what Mr. Cooper said was “unmistakably a threat” — when you tell someone they aren’t going to like what you’re about to do, that’s a threat — but a threat to do what? My guess is: it was a threat to a) record Ms. Cooper and put the recording on the Internet, and/or b) to lure her dog to him so he could physically grab it, march it over to her, and demand that she leash it, which she should have done to begin with. I don’t think it’s reasonable to view the comment as a physical threat — but again, I say that from the comfort of my living room chair.

But I have talked about this to people — woman, particularly — who do see that language as threatening. And it’s not only females who see the comment as threatening. Kyle Smith clearly does.

And I suspect that Ms. Cooper did at the time.

And, by the way, it takes the New York Times until literally the end of their article — the last two paragraphs — even to allude to the arguably threatening language used by Mr. Cooper:

She added that when Mr. Cooper said she would not like what he was “going to do next” and then offered her dog treats, she assumed he was threatening her. Mr. Cooper said the remark was merely meant to signal that he planned to offer the treats.

“I assumed we were being threatened when all he had intended to do was record our encounter on his phone,” Ms. Cooper said.

There is a part of me that wants to say: I don’t think she found it as terrifying as she seems to portray it in the call, or she would likely have run away. But I’ve learned through long experience that you never know exactly how people are going to react in moments of stress, and forming opinions that person x cannot possibly have felt emotion y because every human who experiences emotion y inevitably reacts by committing action z … life doesn’t work like that.

But the bottom line is, if you are going to say to a woman in an isolated area: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it” and then you try to lure her dog from her, you can’t really be shocked if she finds that a bit threatening.

And proving beyond a reasonable doubt that she had a criminal intent to deceive the police? In normal times, I would say: good luck trying to prove that! (In fact, I did say that tonight on Twitter.) But maybe the mob mentality is enough to get her to plead guilty, or even to convince an irrational jury to ignore the full context and do what the mob demands. Who knows any more?

If this case were brought to me, either as a threats case against Mr. Cooper or as a false reporting case against Ms. Cooper, based on what I have seen in the public record, I would file no charges against anyone. I would chalk it up to a combination of less than ideal behavior on both sides, combined with a dash of racism on Ms. Cooper’s part, and a heaping helping of misunderstanding. I would tell all parties to do better in the future and go about their lives.

But in the era of social media, the mob must have its say, and it seems to me that the Manhattan D.A. is bowing to the mob. I think it’s disgraceful and a terrible overreach and an abuse of power.

141 Responses to “Woman from Viral Central Park Video Criminally Charged in a Case of Prosecutorial Overreach”

  1. Good evening!

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. Great post, Patterico, and not only because I agree with every word you wrote.

    nk (1d9030)

  3. If anyone would like to watch the video again.

    https://twitter.com/melodyMcooper/status/1264965252866641920?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1264965252866641920%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fthehill.com%2Fhomenews%2Fstate-watch%2F506047-amy-cooper-faces-charges-after-confrontation-with-black-birdwatcher

    It will be up to a jury to decide if her actions look like those of a frightened person or if she was making a false report to the police as revenge for being corrected. If she was making a false report, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to occasionally make an example of someone who tries to use the police as their personal hitmen.

    Nic (896fdf)

  4. Great post. I thought I might have been alone in thinking she shouldn’t have been charged. I also think that the decision to charge her was an overreaction to the season in which we find ourselves. And for the record, I would have felt threatened if any male said that to me while I was alone in a park.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  5. Well, Mr. Nic, after this incident, I made a special point of telling my daughter not to be embarrassed or afraid to call the police on anyone if she ever felt she needed protection from anyone, and she understood.

    You know who else understood? The police officer who responded. He just calmed them down, made sure everybody was okay, and left. These charges did not originate from the police. They were written up by a pandering POS named Cyrus R. Vance.

    nk (1d9030)

  6. @5 part of it could certainly be a response to the current climate, but there have also been a rash of phone calls to the police on black people who are just living their lives, so it could also be a response to that issue.

    Nic (896fdf)

  7. Sitting comfortably in my living room chair watching the video, my reaction is that I personally don’t think she ought to have felt threatened or that she should have called 911.

    In Central Park??? 😉

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if9ZftYi6mA

    “That dog shoulda been on a leash!” – George Kellrman [Jack Lemmon] ‘The Out-Of-Towners’ 1970

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. Agree completely. I have read his post and find it even damning against him. She reasonably thought he was going to harm the dog. By his admission (if a brag can even be called an admission, which it frequently is in court but nowhere else), he unreasonably planned that sort of thing. The only reason he had dog treats with him in the first place was so he could scare the bejeezus out of dog owners who didn’t keep their dogs on leash. The worst thing she did, IMO, was threaten him she was going to call 911 and claim an African-American was threatening her life, which was never true. Had she actually said that to the 911 operator, it would have been a very different matter. But she didn’t.

    Xrlq (b1794f)

  9. More of this please.

    NJRob (e0f292)

  10. Shes an easy target, as opposed to the scores of rioters and released offenders who have driven the crime rate to astronomical levels

    Narciso (7404b5)

  11. Had she actually said that to the 911 operator, it would have been a very different matter. But she didn’t.

    I think she said he was threatening them both, no?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  12. Yes:

    “I’m in the Ramble, and there’s a man, African American, he’s got a bicycle helmet. He’s recording me and threatening me and my dog,” she said.

    She repeats herself once more, though Christian Cooper never appears to come any closer to her.

    By the third time, she is yelling into the phone with far more panic in her voice.

    “I’m sorry. I can’t hear. Are you there? I’m being threatened by a man into the Ramble. Please send the cops immediately!” she screams.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  13. NYT: she said an “African-American man” was threatening her life, emphasizing his race to the operator.

    Sounds like she was also “emphasizing” that he had a bicycle helmet. In other words, providing a description of what she was seeing.

    I can’t say that I know for sure whether she actually felt threatened, but are 911 callers now supposed to reflect in the moment and leave out race when describing a situation? You leave that detail out when you need help from police, but include that when applying to college? Else, you’re a Karen?

    Idiocracy.

    beer ‘n pretzels (4d3c08)

  14. Ridiculous.

    Offering to give a dog a treat is a threat?

    Utterly ridiculous.

    “You’re not gonna like it” that dogs don’t give a sh*t about humans when there are treats to be had.

    That’s what you’re not gonna like.

    “Karen.”

    Leviticus (823118)

  15. “I’m gonna do what I want, but you’re not gonna like it.”

    Under which other race/gender permutations is this reasonably considered at “threat”?

    Leviticus (823118)

  16. * a “threat”

    Leviticus (823118)

  17. Focusing on the words in isolation seems to ignore very relevant information.

    A given utterance can be very threatening or not threatening at all depending on the demeanor and physical movements of the speaker.

    Dave (1bb933)

  18. It was a statement directed to her or her dog that indicated he would take impending action that she would not like, which implies it would cause harm or involved danger. That meets the definition of a threat.

    DRJ (aede82)

  19. which implies it would cause harm or involved danger.

    That seems like too big an extrapolation.

    Saying somebody won’t like what you’re going to do doesn’t necessarily imply harm or danger.

    What if he had merely started making fun of her? Or called the police? What if he were a plainclothes officer himself, enforcing the leash law in that park, and he was telling her she was about to get written up?

    Whether a reasonable person would interpret a certain set of words as not just a nebulous threat, but a credible statement of intent to do mortal harm (which is what she told the police) would have to take into account the totality of the circumstances, wouldn’t it?

    Dave (1bb933)

  20. Offering to give a dog a treat is a threat?

    If a stranger offered a child a treat we would probably not be too sanguine about it, especially if the stranger was complaining that the child was acting rambunctiously and needed discipline. I think we could all agree there. Now a dog should not be given the same level of worry that one would give a child in that regard, but I can sort of understand why a high-strung dog owner would freak out if someone behaving in an antagonistic manner would pull such a stunt.

    Both of these combatants behaved poorly. Patterico is correct in his assessment.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  21. He is the one who said “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.”

    IMO it is reasonable to treat “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want … ” as a non-threatening promise to act. However, when he added “but you’re not going to like it” then it became a threat.

    DRJ (aede82)

  22. Who said anything about mortal harm, Dave? I didn’t and I missed her saying that, if she did. Maybe it is different for men and women but I don’t have to be in mortal danger to feel threatened.

    DRJ (aede82)

  23. Whether or not she felt in danger, he clearly seemed preoccupied with her dog and I think she could reasonably fear he would do something “she didn’t like” to her dog. That could be mean putting a leash on it, kicking it, taking it, or who knows? I don’t know how New Yorkers feel about their dogs but West Texans don’t take kindly with folks who mess with our dogs.

    DRJ (aede82)

  24. “it seems to me that the Manhattan D.A. is bowing to the mob.“
    _ _

    With examples every hour of authorities all over the country doing exactly that, that seems reasonable.
    __ _

    harkin (ca2d1a)

  25. When a black man tells a white woman “you’re not going to like it” during a verbal confrontation, I think the white woman can take that as a threat, because she couldn’t know what thing he was planning to do that she wouldn’t like. It could mean as little as notifying park authorities or putting her on social media, or as much as taking her dog or pummeling her face.
    She already got fired from her job for revealing herself to the world the b*tch she really is. It doesn’t need to go farther than that.

    Paul Montagu (e2c658)

  26. Who said anything about mortal harm, Dave?

    She did.

    This is from the recording:

    The Ramble is a wooded area of Central Park where dogs are required to be leashed. According to Christian Cooper, he started recording after asking the woman to leash her dog.

    The woman is seen in the video approaching the man, holding the dog’s leash in one hand and pulling her dog by the collar with her other hand.

    “Please don’t come close to me,” he says, appearing not to move toward her or to retreat.

    As she approaches, she tells him she is going to take a picture of him and call police if he didn’t stop recording her.

    Christian Cooper tells her calmly, “Please call the cops. Please call the cops.”

    “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she responds.

    I just watched it for the first time. Obviously we only see what happens after he started recording.

    As soon as he starts recording, she becomes visibly angry and aggressively approaches the man who she is purportedly in fear of, who asks her not to approach him and makes no move toward her himself.

    This (to me) proves my point about the totality of the circumstances. If you are afraid someone is going to harm you, you don’t run up next to them 20-30 feet away.

    To those who say her emphasis on his race during the 911 call was merely to provide an accurate description, it doesn’t explain why she emphasized it in her threat *to him*.

    Having watched it, however, she did not actually tell the police he was threatening “her life”, despite telling hims that’s what she was going to do, so I stand corrected on that important point.

    Dave (1bb933)

  27. This senorita, she is not very New York City street smart, I don’t think. From any perspective. Before, during, and after.
    1. She should have had a pit bull, not a cocker spaniel.
    2. She should not have engaged the bird botherer in any way. She should have completely ignored him, not said a word to him, and if he persisted in his advances called her dog back to her and dialed 911.
    3. Afterwards, she should have taken a leaf from the police union defense handbook: “I did nothing wrong.” She should not have apologized or given away her dog [unless she plans to get a pit bull, but I doubt it]. It did not appease anyone. Not even perfect strangers at the other end of the country, 3,000 miles away, who call her a b!tch. All it did was make her look easy to kick around.

    nk (1d9030)

  28. I watched the video and based on what I saw the man behavior wasn’t threatening. Tone and demeanor were all very mild. But that’s subjective and it’s possible she interpreted it differently. A jury could decide that, but I think charging her is a mistake. As far as punishment goes I think the shame she’s endured is more than enough.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  29. Well based on other reports, it sounds like Ms. Cooper thrived on confrontation, being overly dramatic, and conveying a sense of entitlement. This was not her first issue with walking her dog without a leash. Still, it does not seem like an incident that should make national news or lead to one losing her job and facing possible criminal indictment. Prior to cell phones, what would have been the outcome of such an encounter (absent some mental illness)? Maybe some nasty words exchanged….but in the end, nothing much. Now, with Christian Cooper suffering very little harm or damage, Amy Cooper has had her world over-turned….for the crime of being a b*t*h who can’t control her tongue. There’s a “gotcha” and baiting element of this…on both sides…..that’s just depressing. We do need to treat each other better…..rather than perpetually trying to score….in the end…irrelevant points

    AJ_Liberty (0f85ca)

  30. when your city is on fire, because of your moron mayor, savaging the police and standing for a marxist terrorist group, which is destroying it, through wide scale vandalism, maybe priorities should be in order,

    narciso (7404b5)

  31. Whether or not she felt in danger, he clearly seemed preoccupied with her dog and I think she could reasonably fear he would do something “she didn’t like” to her dog. That could be mean putting a leash on it, kicking it, taking it, or who knows? I don’t know how New Yorkers feel about their dogs but West Texans don’t take kindly with folks who mess with our dogs.</em

    It may have been something more innocent… a need…

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mq7DbWsjX6A

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  32. Ridiculous.

    Offering to give a dog a treat is a threat?

    Utterly ridiculous.

    Leviticus, you’re someone who is capable of having a meaningful and rational discussion. However, the quote above feels more like emotion.

    “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.” That is, as I said in the post, a threat. A threat to do what, is unclear, but a threat to do something the lady will not like.

    Can we agree on that much, it being virtually a tautology?

    Patterico (58d68d)

  33. Focusing on the words in isolation seems to ignore very relevant information.

    A given utterance can be very threatening or not threatening at all depending on the demeanor and physical movements of the speaker.

    Unfortunately (as often happens with these so-called Karen videos) the man did not film his own provocation but only the aftermath.

    But you can imagine him saying this phrase as amiably as you like: “ Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.” It’s threatening language unless they are friends and he is joking. And that is it the context. It was already a tense situation in an isolated area.

    I am not trying to convince you or Leviticus that the woman had a reasonable basis to feel physically threatened or that she behaved well.

    I am asking you to acknowledge that this criminal charge is very weak and smacks or overreach to appease a mob.

    Patterico (58d68d)

  34. I watched the video and based on what I saw the man behavior wasn’t threatening. Tone and demeanor were all very mild

    He did not tape his own threat.

    Had he not admitted it we would have only the woman’s word for it.

    Patterico (58d68d)

  35. People are naturally so swayed by the video they are emotionally incapable of imagining what we know for a fact transpired before the phone was turned on by the threatener.

    Patterico (58d68d)

  36. Well based on other reports, it sounds like Ms. Cooper thrived on confrontation, being overly dramatic, and conveying a sense of entitlement

    Mr. Cooper literally carried dog treats around with him as part of a strategy to confront dog owners with dogs not on a leash.

    Patterico (58d68d)

  37. This (to me) proves my point about the totality of the circumstances. If you are afraid someone is going to harm you, you don’t run up next to them 20-30 feet away

    I did address that in the post. It was my reaction too; that said, people react differently under stress.

    Frankly I think she felt a mixture of stress over being vaguely threatened and being taped.

    Patterico (58d68d)

  38. I think Ms. Cooper made a racial thing out of it when,

    I don;t think she made a racial thing of it, nor did Mr. Cooper fear the police. He called her bluff. He was probably more afraid of what she might do if she didn’t call the police. He knew the police would not believe her, at least if he moved away and stopped talking to her, which he did. nd she might have been a little afraid of him, too.

    Ms. Cooper, by the way, had a history of filing false complaints.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/nyregion/central-park-amy-cooper-christian-racism.html

    Alison Faircloth, 37, a neighbor and dog owner, recalled that last winter, she came upon Ms. Cooper on the verge of tears outside the building’s lobby. A doorman had cursed at her for no reason, Ms. Cooper told her. Ms. Cooper vowed to get the doorman fired, Ms. Faircloth said.

    But when Ms. Faircloth asked the doorman what had happened, he told her that Ms. Cooper had complained about a broken elevator, then cursed at him after she barged into a security booth and had to be removed by a guard.

    “There’s always a narrative from her about someone who has done her wrong,” Ms. Faircloth said.

    The building’s management declined to comment

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  39. I watched the video and based on what I saw the man behavior wasn’t threatening. Tone and demeanor were all very mild

    He did not tape his own threat.

    Had he not admitted it we would have only the woman’s word for it.

    Patterico (58d68d) — 7/7/2020 @ 7:16 am

    Your statement is true, and I said this would be something the jury would have to determine. I should have included “after reviewing all available evidence and testimony”.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  40. He was, in a way, threatening to steal and take away her dog if she didn’t put it on a leash. Now I don’t know why the anti-leash rule applied to dogs as well as cats. Ms. Cooper was not goin to give in, so, although she pulled the dig near her, she grabbed it by the collar, but would not put it on a leash

    She threatened to call the police if Mr Cooper didn’t back down. She knew she had no legitimate complaint – she was breaking the rules, he wasn’t – so she said she would lie to the police. (they both knew it was a lie)

    He said he didn’t care – go ahead call the police. He knew the New York City police were good and and confidence in them, and besides he was now recording the encounter.

    Her bluff called, she didn’t fold, but felt compelled to follow through, and in the call, tried to sound abruptly frightened.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  41. Mr. Cooper literally carried dog treats around with him as part of a strategy to confront dog owners with dogs not on a leash.

    Patterico (58d68d) — 7/7/2020 @ 7:20 am

    Yes, because so many dog owners failed to obey the posted signs that they keep their dogs leashed in that area. He was clear in interviews that his strategy was to ask people to leash their dogs and if the owner refused to follow leash laws he’d offer the animal a treat. Since people don’t want strangers giving their dog treats they would typically leash their dog.

    It’s also a good way to distract threatening animals.

    This seems like a pretty reasonable strategy to me if unleashed dogs are so common and the police aren’t enforcing that law.

    Patterico, I think the problem is that when you describe his words as threatening people assume that you’re implying she was justified in calling the police. This is an odd assumption because you’re clear in your post that not what you’re saying. It’s probably because your position doesn’t neatly fit into a ‘side’ in this situation.

    Time123 (f5cf77)

  42. 3. Nic (896fdf) — 7/6/2020 @ 8:25 pm

    It will be up to a jury to decide if her actions look like those of a frightened person or if she was making a false report to the police as revenge for being corrected.

    Not as revenge, but she made the threat in an attempt to force him to back down. He started recording, and sort of dared her to call the police. Outmaneuvered, she did call the police, and he did back off.

    But now that the police were coming, she couldn’t let the dog loose!!

    So he won that battle.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  43. I concede in the post that her behavior is bad. I’d really like her critics to discuss the criminal charge. Do you think, based on what is in the public record, a D.A. can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did not feel threatened upon hearing, in an isolated area of the park, a man saying to her “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.” Read that last sentence out loud. To ask the question is to answer it, unless you refuse to see the clear answer out of emotion. I’ve not seen one rational argument that fully confronts the known facts that supports this charge.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  44. Who cares if she subjectively “Felt threatened”. She was NOT threatened. You can interpret his actions as a threat to her DOG, but that’s it. And are people now claiming that if someone offers a dog treat to a stranger’s dog, they are putting the down owner in personal danger?

    Ridiculous. But I wouldn’t have charged this hysterical left-wing Democrat Harridan with a crime though. She felt threatened and called the police. People call the police for all kinds of absurd reasons. I had a triplex neighbor call the police because the other neighbor was blocking his car. Talk about childish behavior, but the police came out and played Mommy and got it all straightened out.

    rcocean (2e1c02)

  45. Patterico, I think the problem is that when you describe his words as threatening people assume that you’re implying she was justified in calling the police. This is an odd assumption because you’re clear in your post that not what you’re saying. It’s probably because your position doesn’t neatly fit into a ‘side’ in this situation.

    It’s quite true that I do not take sides as between the Coopers, and that seems to confuse people and cause them to ignore important parts of what I actually said and to react emotionally.

    I do take sides, though: against the D.A.’s prosecution. And it disappoints me that more people are not doing the same — or at least constructing an argument as to why they are not.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  46. One can feel she had no right to call the police and was rightfully shamed for it AND not believe she should be criminally prosecuted.

    rcocean (2e1c02)

  47. Who cares if she subjectively “Felt threatened”. She was NOT threatened. You can interpret his actions as a threat to her DOG, but that’s it. And are people now claiming that if someone offers a dog treat to a stranger’s dog, they are putting the down owner in personal danger?

    Ridiculous. But I wouldn’t have charged this hysterical left-wing Democrat Harridan with a crime though. She felt threatened and called the police

    This comment makes a lot of sense except for the first sentence, which contradicts the rest of it which shows precisely why we should indeed care.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  48. One can feel she had no right to call the police and was rightfully shamed for it AND not believe she should be criminally prosecuted.

    Indeed. How is rcocean one of the few people to see this?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  49. BTW, Off topic, its just like the cucks at NR to race off and defend this hysterical left-wing Democrat, while crucifying the Covington Kids based on nothing more than an edited video from a left-wing news site. This case has nothing in common with the Covington Kids.

    rcocean (2e1c02)

  50. I concede in the post that her behavior is bad. I’d really like her critics to discuss the criminal charge. Do you think, based on what is in the public record, a D.A. can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did not feel threatened upon hearing, in an isolated area of the park, a man saying to her “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.” Read that last sentence out loud. To ask the question is to answer it, unless you refuse to see the clear answer out of emotion. I’ve not seen one rational argument that fully confronts the known facts that supports this charge.

    I think it will be very hard to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt based on what’s known now. I think it will require the testimony of the Mr. Cooper to be extremely compelling to the jury. Based only on what I’ve seen of him that doesn’t seem likely. He seems very nice and non-threatening…but it’s a huge lift for him.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  51. Holly cow i agree with RCocean!

    Time123 (66d88c)

  52. Not Comment 51, the comments before that.

    Time123 (66d88c)

  53. I don;t think she made a racial thing of it, nor did Mr. Cooper fear the police.

    She made it racial when she told him that she was going to call the police and say that an African American man was threatening her. Even if she told the police something different, she made her motivations clear.

    Paul Montagu (e2c658)

  54. he’s got a bicycle helmet

    She was trying ti take advantage of prejudice against bikers.

    https://www.thedrive.com/watch-this/18226/bicycle-mob-smashes-cars-in-new-york-city

    Normally when you hear the phrase “biker gang” you think Hell’s Angels, Sons of Anarchy, or an equivalent crew of leather-clad tough guys swinging chains and causing general mayhem—you don’t think of helmets or spandex shorts. Times are changing my friends, because now there are roving mobs of people on 10-speeds tearing up the streets. According to NBC New York, a gang of 14 to 16 bicycle riders showed up on the streets of New York’s Chelsea neighborhood riding down the street the wrong way, surrounding cars, and harassing drivers.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  55. Who cares if she subjectively “Felt threatened”. She was NOT threatened. You can interpret his actions as a threat to her DOG, but that’s it. And are people now claiming that if someone offers a dog treat to a stranger’s dog, they are putting the down owner in personal danger?

    Ridiculous. But I wouldn’t have charged this hysterical left-wing Democrat Harridan with a crime though. She felt threatened and called the police. People call the police for all kinds of absurd reasons. I had a triplex neighbor call the police because the other neighbor was blocking his car. Talk about childish behavior, but the police came out and played Mommy and got it all straightened out.

    rcocean (2e1c02) — 7/7/2020 @ 7:47 am

    Ain’t that the truth. Well said.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  56. “I’m gonna do what I want, but you’re not gonna like it.”

    Under which other race/gender permutations is this reasonably considered at “threat”?

    Any?

    Unless it’s friends hosting around, it’s a threat of some sort, Leviticus. It’s not necessarily a threat of physical violence or a threat that justifies calling the police. But if you can’t acknowledge it’s a threat, to do *something*, then you and I have no common language we can use to discuss this.

    The first definition that pops on on Google is: “a statement of an intention to inflict pain, injury, damage, or other hostile action on someone in retribution for something done or not done.”

    Now, this isn’t just any situation, it’s a man confronting a woman in an isolated area.

    But regardless, it’s clearly a statement of an intention to do a hostile act. Otherwise why would she not like it? If you can’t acknowledge that, it’s a shame, because I find you a generally reasonable person and I can tell you disagree, and I think in some parallel universe we could have a good discussion about this. But in this universe, I feel like we’re speaking two different languages and that the chance of a useful discussion seems very small.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  57. Assuming she gets an unbiased jury, I don’t see how they could convict her.

    This isn’t my area of expertise, obviously, but maybe the prosecutor thinks she’ll do him a favor by pleading to a lesser charge and taking probation or something, rather than going to trial.

    Dave (1bb933)

  58. Whatever. If somebody looks at me sideways, I won’t be embarrassed to call 911 if I think I should. But I won’t say what the race of the other person is. I’ll say I’m over 60 and disabled. That’s two things that make a misdemeanor a felony in Illinois.

    nk (1d9030)

  59. Patterico (115b1f)

  60. This isn’t my area of expertise, obviously, but maybe the prosecutor thinks she’ll do him a favor by pleading to a lesser charge and taking probation or something, rather than going to trial.

    She’s already lost her job and become a public pariah over this incident. What does she have to lose by going to trial if the consensus is that the charge is an overreach? Perhaps a few bucks in attorney’s fees but a good PR firm could help turn her into a sympathetic victim of an overzealous politically-inclined DA and perhaps help rehabilitate her career.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  61. “I’m gonna do what I want, but you’re not gonna like it.”

    Under which other race/gender permutations is this reasonably considered at “threat”?

    Exactly. He has said something that informs her that a) he will do what he wants (she has no idea what that is), b) it will be something she will not enjoy (she still has no idea what that will be).

    Also, and this matters: he is a male, she is a female. They are in a remote part of the park. I believe both of those factored into how threatened she might feel. And apparently, that he was black also factored in to her read of the situation. But I’m going to stick with the first two as being reasonable factors influencing her reaction. Another thing, I think, is that, from the brief way we see how she carries herself: that she is above the rules, her – and I use this for lack of better description – increasingly hysterical response (anger, fear, defensiveness, arrogance) also indicates to me that she is pretty tightly wound, and because of that I can see why her reaction was so intense, if not misdirected. She reacted like a woman not only unused to being challenged, but like a woman who has found herself in a difficult situation, perhaps cornered.

    I’m trying think if the birder had been a black female, would the ‘threat’ not have been taken as a threat, and would things have gone differently…

    Dana (25e0dc)

  62. So am I the only one that doesn’t care much about the human interaction. I’m appalled at her treatment of her dog. What a d-hole. The dog should sue them both for mental distress.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  63. My suggestion: if you find yourself in a Karen video, start singing Hakuna Matata. That way when it’s uploaded to Youtube, Disney will file a DMCA takedown notice.

    Dustin (b62cc4)

  64. The dog should sue them both for mental distress.

    Yeah, and for a dog, it counts seven times as much, because it’s in dog years!

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  65. I think ACooper should have been able to resolve the situation without calling the cops….and that pride brought her down when CCooper called her bluff. That said, I’m not comfortable with CCooper luring off-leash dogs with “treats”. It’s deliberately provocative….as the dog owner does not know him or what exactly he’s feeding or threatening to feed the dog. It’s not clear to me if the dog was actually being a nuisance or whether CCooper was looking to create a confrontation…..and make his point. How this gets to the point of a prosecutor mystifies me….but it also mystifies me how this ruins a person’s career. Yes, she seems like a primadonna….but to get fired for losing your cool…man, I hope this was one of those last straw situations…where she was a pain-in-the-rear at work too….

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  66. She was cruel in the way she dragged her dog around, but that suggests to me that she took this as a threat to her dog so she would not let him go. But, she also took his videoing as a threat — perhaps he might plan to dox her? — so maybe she wanted to confront him about that. The bottom line for me is that she was clearly fearful, angry and panicked while he was deliberate and irritated with her. That is the formula for a problem.

    As for the prosecution, she was the one acting fearful and threatened. He was the one acting deliberate and using threatening language. I don’t see how they could charge her but not him, too, except if they made this about race, which is convenient for the DA.

    DRJ (aede82)

  67. A woman claiming to feel threatened by a man saying in an isolated area

    I guess you are being a little facetious in your Tweet, but your description of circumstances leaves out some relevant facts.

    Right before she calls the police, she felt unthreatened enough to run right up to the guy and get in his face after he started filming.

    And as she does, the guy is telling *her* “don’t come close to me”.

    All this happened before she called the police and said he is threatening her.

    Also, by that time (and her actions bear this out), regardless of anything said earlier, the man had done nothing to manifest any intent to physically harm her.

    1) He was speaking calmly
    2) He was recording the encounter
    3) He was not trying to approach her
    4) He was asking her to please call the police

    At the moment the recording starts, which is prior to her phone call to 911, I don’t think she could have a reasonable belief that he means to do her harm. (And I think you’ve said you’re not arguing she did).

    To split hairs, she tells the police several times that a man “is [present tense] threatening me.” I think that is manifestly not true at the time she is on the phone.

    So I think one can argue that she made a false report in bad faith. She effectively tried to have the guy SWATted there in the park.

    Dave (1bb933)

  68. My suggestion: if you find yourself in a Karen video, start singing Hakuna Matata. That way when it’s uploaded to Youtube, Disney will file a DMCA takedown notice.

    Dustin (b62cc4) — 7/7/2020 @ 9:35 am

    Ha! And mention Nathan Lane.

    DRJ (aede82)

  69. 1) He was speaking calmly
    2) He was recording the encounter
    3) He was not trying to approach her
    4) He was asking her to please call the police

    1) He was speaking deliberately
    2) To dox her? (It worked)
    3) You know his position at all times? How?
    4) He was taunting her to call the police and egging her on.

    DRJ (aede82)

  70. So I think one can argue that she made a false report in bad faith. She effectively tried to have the guy SWATted there in the park.

    Dave (1bb933) — 7/7/2020 @ 9:39 am

    You sound like her.

    DRJ (aede82)

  71. By that I mean that you jump to conclusions. But you are safe online. She was there, alone.

    DRJ (aede82)

  72. The fact is, no matter how obnoxious was her behavior, the man made the threat, not the woman – despite her actions. He uttered the words (and warning):

    “I’m gonna do what I want, but you’re not gonna like it.”

    She could have no way of knowing what he wanted to do, what he would do, or how he would do it. She just knew that he was going to do something, and she would not like it. None of that has a positive ring to it. We might not like her as a person, but that doesn’t negate what *he* was responsible for saying to her. I don’t understand why she is being charged when she didn’t make a threat, other than she is being charged to set an example and because there is a lot of external and internal pressure because of racial unrest to do something and make her pay.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  73. Great post and a thread that resembles Twelve Angry Men. Thanks, Patterico!

    nk (1d9030)

  74. So I think one can argue that she made a false report in bad faith. She effectively tried to have the guy SWATted there in the park.

    Dave (1bb933) — 7/7/2020 @ 9:39 am

    You can argue that, but you don’t know that. If she believed that she was being threatened by a yet unknown action that could render harm to her dog or herself, then the call wasn’t in bad faith, no matter how distasteful her personality. How did she try to have him SWATted? She called 911 because she felt threatened.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  75. I feel like you’re giving him the benefit of the doubt because he is more likable and appeared more level-headed, and you can’t give her the benefit of the doubt because she is unlikable, and emotional.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  76. She ran right up to him, very aggressively.

    *Seconds* before she called 911 and pretended to be in mortal fear of him.

    How can you ignore this undeniable evidence of her true state of mind at the moment?

    Dave (1bb933)

  77. @69, but he only started filming after he made the “threat”. So he understood he had to speak calmly….while she was spun up. I see it as a clear case of provoking someone into bad behavior. Who goes to park looking to purposefully (he comes with treats) harass people with unleashed dogs? He’s not animal control. The result of all of this should be a citation for having her dog off leash. His admitted creepy behavior before filming is enough doubt on whether or not the police should have been called. In the end, what’s the harm in having the officer ask some questions?

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  78. You sound like her.

    I think that’s uncalled-for.

    Dave (1bb933)

  79. “I am asking you to acknowledge that this criminal charge is very weak and smacks or overreach to appease a mob.”

    – Patterico

    I agree with this.

    I will also check myself and agree that saying “I’m gonna do what I want, but you’re not gonna like it” is technically a threat.

    Technically.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  80. In the end, what’s the harm in having the officer ask some questions?

    Breonna Taylor was unavailable for comment.

    Dave (1bb933)

  81. This is the statute, I’d wager:

    Ҥ 240.50. Falsely reporting an incident in the third degree
    A person is guilty of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree when, knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated to be false or baseless, he or she:
    1. Initiates or circulates a false report or warning of an alleged occurrence or impending occurrence of a crime, catastrophe or emergency under circumstances in which it is not unlikely that public alarm or inconvenience will result; or
    2. Reports, by word or action, to an official or quasi-official agency or organization having the function of dealing with emergencies involving danger to life or property, an alleged occurrence or impending occurrence of a catastrophe or emergency which did not in fact occur or does not in fact exist; or
    3. Gratuitously reports to a law enforcement officer or agency (a) the alleged occurrence of an offense or incident which did not in fact occur; or (b) an allegedly impending occurrence of an offense or incident which in fact is not about to occur; or (c) false information relating to an actual offense or incident or to the alleged implication of some person therein; or
    4. Reports, by word or action, an alleged occurrence or condition of child abuse or maltreatment or abuse or neglect of a vulnerable person which did not in fact occur or exist to:
    (a) the statewide central register of child abuse and maltreatment, as defined in title six of article six of the social services law or the vulnerable persons’ central register as defined in article eleven of such law, or
    (b) any person required to report cases of suspected child abuse or maltreatment pursuant to subdivision one of section four hundred thirteen of the social services law or to report cases of suspected abuse or neglect of a vulnerable person pursuant to section four hundred ninety-one of such law, knowing that the person is required to report such cases, and with the intent that such an alleged occurrence be reported to the statewide central register or vulnerable persons’ central register.
    Falsely reporting an incident in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.”

    Leviticus (efada1)

  82. See, even saying that it is *technically* a threat still feels wrong to me.

    I think there is no way to equate “you will not like what I am going to do” with “I am about to commit a hostile act.”

    Particularly insofar as she obviously “does not like” what he is already doing, which is asking her to put her dog on a leash. Does she like that? No. Is that a “hostile act”? No.

    What if he had called the cops? Would she have liked that? No. “Hostile act”? No.

    What if he had offered her dog a treat and the dog came over and ate it and got petted by the guy? Would she have liked that? No. “Hostile act”? No.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  83. Rather than wanting to inflict distress on Ms. Cooper, maybe the prosecutor’s intention is to deter future reports of this kind.

    Dave (1bb933)

  84. Do the race/gender permutations of the two participants matter, or is saying “you will not like what I am going to do” a threat under all circumstances regardless?

    Leviticus (efada1)

  85. Should we all agree that no charge should be brought the elements of which cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at the time the charge is brought?

    Leviticus (efada1)

  86. Couldn’t we get Obama to call for a beer summit? Maybe a Manhattan Summit in Manhattan, open up the Summit bar?

    Of the viral Karen’s over the last few months, this one is probably the most mild. The crazy Covid Target Karen is frightening in her schizophrenia. Or this crazy racist Karen. Or you can mix them up together.

    I still hate the Karen meme, I know some real life Karens and they’re great, and I know some real life “Karens” and they’re terrible. “Karens” ruining it for Karen. Sorry/not sorry Karen…er…Karen.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (305827)

  87. Rather than wanting to inflict distress on Ms. Cooper, maybe the prosecutor’s intention is to deter future reports of this kind.

    Give that man a cigar! There is a concerted campaign to shame and deter people from taking steps to protect themselves against thugs until it’s too late. The “Karen” label for women is an especially noxious tactic. Don’t fall for it, and warn your loved ones not to fall for it.

    nk (1d9030)

  88. no matter how distasteful her personality

    she is unlikable, and emotional.

    I don’t see her that way.

    nk (1d9030)

  89. “What if he had offered her dog a treat and the dog came over and ate it and got petted by the guy?”

    Yes, the statement is cryptic….”you’re not going to like it”….but put your daughter, wife, or mother in that same situation….6′ 200lb male confronting a 5’3″ 120lb female….are you comfortable assuming the best intentions in a park at night? With a guy trying to lure their dog with a “treat” he just happens to bring with him? He was out to provoke something. She countered with her own threat. He called her bluff while making sure to video her reaction. Should she have just leashed up her dog and left? Yes….that’s what most rational people would have done. Reports indicate that this was probably not her first disagreement over an unleashed dog. No one in this situation was completely blameless. If CCooper was afraid that the cops would come and SWAT him, then he was well within his rights to have backed off and disengaged. He chose not to. Again…despite Dave’s curious invocation of Breonna Taylor….cops are who should be called if an unknown man is making cryptic threats and not backing down. Would you really want your daughter to trust his intentions….really!?

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  90. Do the race/gender permutations of the two participants matter, or is saying “you will not like what I am going to do” a threat under all circumstances regardless?

    Leviticus (efada1) — 7/7/2020 @ 10:16 am

    I considered that at 63. Personally, gender would factor into my reaction. However, no matter who said “you will not like what I am going to do,” I would still take it as a threat: The individual was going to do some unknown thing and I would not like what that unknown thing was. How is that not a threat?

    Dana (25e0dc)

  91. Rather than wanting to inflict distress on Ms. Cooper, maybe the prosecutor’s intention is to deter future reports of this kind.

    Yes, I can see that. But does that make it right? I don’t think it does in this case because it ignores the clear threat made by the individual not being charged for anything. Exactly what kind of message does that send? That a black man can utter a threat and not be held accountable, while the woman on the receiving end of the threat is penalized for calling for help? That doesn’t sound right. And no matter how noxious she was, it remains that a threat was made toward her, and she is the one being punished.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  92. “That a black man can utter a threat and not be held accountable, while the woman on the receiving end of the threat is penalized for calling for help?”

    Exactly. The right call would be no harm, no foul and everyone goes home to cool off (though maybe she gets a bright yellow citation for having her dog off leash…haaaa)

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  93. #BelieveWomen vs. #BLM

    Such a dilemma for the woke crowd.

    beer ‘n pretzels (7b79e1)

  94. The fact that the birder was black was important only to the woman and the prosecutor leveling charges. It doesn’t change what he said. But charging her ignores the threat he made, and I think that’s because he happens to be black. If he had been white, I don’t think the woman would have been as reactive, and I certainly don’t think there would have been any charges brought against her either. All this tells me is, the prosecutor is more interested in using the law to accommodate popular protests, and that he seems uninterested in applying the law equally, no matter who it impacts.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  95. If she had called the police immediately after his “threat”, I would find it a lot easier to agree with those defending her.

    But that’s not what happened.

    By the time she called police she had a great deal more information about her interlocutor’s intentions.

    And the fact that she walks straight up in his face from 20 feet away is dispositive: if she ever reasonably believed that he meant to harm her, she no longer held belief.

    Because a frightened woman who genuinely fears a man intends to physically harm her does not walk across a park to yell in his face.

    Dave (1bb933)

  96. blockquote> Do the race/gender permutations of the two participants matter, or is saying “you will not like what I am going to do” a threat under all circumstances regardless?

    I answered this earlier. If it’s joshing among friends it could be non-threatening. The gender likely matters to how the victim perceived the seriousness of the threat.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  97. See, even saying that it is *technically* a threat still feels wrong to me.
    I think there is no way to equate “you will not like what I am going to do” with “I am about to commit a hostile act.”

    They sound identical to me.

    Particularly insofar as she obviously “does not like” what he is already doing, which is asking her to put her dog on a leash. Does she like that? No. Is that a “hostile act”? No.

    What if he had called the cops? Would she have liked that? No. “Hostile act”? No.

    Does the phrase “threatened to call the cops” sound natural to you, or does it sound like incomprehensible gibberish? If you’re like most humans, you’ll answer the former. This means a statement or intention to call the cops on someone is a threat. It can be a threat even if it’s reasonable.

    I do not claim his language was necessarily a threat of violence or a threat that justified the intervention of law enforcement. But only motivated reasoning can persuade someone to claim it’s not a “threat” as we commonly use that word. Read the first sentence of this paragraph again, several times if need be, before responding further.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  98. I think there is no way to equate “you will not like what I am going to do” with “I am about to commit a hostile act.”

    How it even possible to not equate the two? Perhaps if the woman already knew the man personally (and that he was a decent guy), then maybe she wouldn’t have reacted how she did. But then again, if they did know one another, he likely wouldn’t have made a threat in the first place.

    While there is certainly a level of subjectivity involved in perception, his words are what they are. No matter what she was doing, or how tightly wound she might have been, he uttered specific words that had specific meaning: You will not like what I am going to do.

    Offering to give a dog a treat is a threat?

    Utterly ridiculous.

    She did not know that that was what he was going to do when he said “You will not like what I am going to do.” How could she? Again, he has said something that informed her that a) he will do what he wants (she had no idea what that is), b) it will be something she will not enjoy (she still had no idea what that will be).

    Dana (25e0dc)

  99. “I do not claim his language was necessarily a threat of violence or a threat that justified the intervention of law enforcement.”

    – Patterico

    If it was not a “threat” that justified the intervention of law enforcement, then I can see why the DA is proceeding with this particular charge (even if I agree that it will be difficult to prove). It is reasonable for law enforcement to assume that people reporting “threats” to law enforcement are facing threats which justify the intervention of law enforcement.

    A lie of omission is still a lie. What if this guy had “threatened” to take out his chalk and draw a caricature of this lady on the sidewalk, and told her “she wasn’t going to like it”? Would she then be justified in calling the police to report a “threat,” omitting the chalk drawing part? Would law enforcement be wrong to deem such a report “false”?

    Leviticus (efada1)

  100. If it was not a “threat” that justified the intervention of law enforcement, then I can see why the DA is proceeding with this particular charge (even if I agree that it will be difficult to prove). It is reasonable for law enforcement to assume that people reporting “threats” to law enforcement are facing threats which justify the intervention of law enforcement.

    I thought I made this point clear in the post but I will repeat it. There is very important distinction — which you seem to pay no attention to at all despite my raising it more than once — between (on one hand) whether a threat reasonably justifies calling law enforcement (which I don’t think it does here, but I know reasonable people who do) and (on the other hand) being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a particular individual did not subjectively feel there was a threat.

    Just like Dave repeatedly asserts “a person who feels emotion x does not do action y” without ever seeming to confront my argument, repeated here many times, that not every person reacts to stress the same way.

    Ignoring the points I make certainly makes it easier to stick to your position, but I have to frankly admit to both of you that I find it annoying to find my oft-stated points just completely ignored like that. Take issue with them all you like, but please don’t pretend I didn’t say them.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  101. I’ve already admitted that this is a weak charge. I’m not ignoring anything.

    I’ll ask what I asked before at #87:

    Should we all agree that no charge should be brought the elements of which cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at the time the charge is brought?

    Is your primary point A) this is a weak charge that will be difficult to prove, B) that the prosecutor should not have brought this charge, or C) both? And if it is C, is it because A automatically entails B?

    Leviticus (efada1)

  102. nk (1d9030) — 7/7/2020 @ 10:43 am

    I concur. The opponents of the police would love it* if calling the cops really was “coming from a place of white privilege.”

    * “it” being the idea of instilling the fear of the social costs, and even the perception,
    of acting “white.”

    felipe (023cc9)

  103. 55. Paul Montagu (e2c658) — 7/7/2020 @ 8:04 am

    She made it racial when she told him that she was going to call the police and say that an African American man was threatening her.

    Did she know his name? The only way to indicate she was going to point the fingerat him was to describe him (somewhat inaccurately, because you would picture a younger man.)

    Se said he was threatening her life, which is not what he sad. In fact, saying “you;re not going to like it” implies that she is going to survive whatever he was going to.

    The worst thing that would come to mind is that he would take her dog away from her, but not that he would do anything to her.

    Not like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW_02k7LRMo

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  104. Just like Dave repeatedly asserts “a person who feels emotion x does not do action y” without ever seeming to confront my argument, repeated here many times, that not every person reacts to stress the same way.

    And what?

    Suppose she had been armed, and when she stepped away from him, instead of pulling out her phone to call the cops, she’d pulled out a piece and shot him instead, Bernie Goetz style? Or held him at gunpoint while waiting for the police? Because she had been threatened and not every person reacts to stress in the same way.

    If she should be given a pass on what she did do, where would you draw the line between permissible and sanctionable reactions to stress?

    What exactly does being told “I’m going to do something you won’t like” give one license to do?

    Dave (1bb933)

  105. What did he say? (according to his version)

    ME: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.”

    IF she does what she wants Which is: Let the dog go into the bird watching part of the park off the leash.

    Anyway, according to him she asks, more or less:

    HER: “What’s that?”

    He replies indirectly:

    ME [to the dog]: “Come here, puppy!”

    HER: “He won’t come to you.”

    ME: “We’ll see about that.

    So, is he threatening her llfe?

    She grabs the dog, but not wanting to give in, doesn’t put him back on a leash, but holds him by the collar, which is kind of hard to do..

    Then she threatens to call the police. He starts recording. And tells her: Go ahead. So she does, and does a bit of acting out in the call, like something was happening.

    Q. When the police arrive, is the dog on the leash or not? I would bet yes. She loses, anyway.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  106. Now, the police (and certainly the District Attorney) do not normally make a case out of something like that. They don;t want to deter people from calling the police. although, afterwards, the New York State legislature passed a law that might deter some people:

    Among other things, it prohibited race-based 911 calls.

    https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-signs-say-their-name-reform-agenda-package

    The reforms include:

    ….Prohibiting false race-based 911 reports…

    Prohibiting Race-Based 911 Calls (S.8492/A.1531)

    Recent years have shown a number of frivolous and false calls to 911 based on the callers’ personal discomfort with other people and not for any particular threat. This new law makes it a civil rights violation to call 911 to report a non-emergency incident involving a member of a protected class without reason to suspect a crime or an imminent threat.

    Senator Kevin Parker said, “Social media is rampant with videos of people weaponizing the 911 emergency system against African-Americans hoping to see them falsely arrested or worse. This legislation is by no means a solution to the systemic injustices and prejudices that fuel these types of calls to the police. However, this law gives victims of this despicable behavior the beginnings of some recourse. I am glad that it was passed, together with other important police reform bills, and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”

    Assembly Member Diana Richardson said, “Today, I am proud that Governor Cuomo has immediately signed into law my bill that makes it a crime to call 911 based on a person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. No longer will people be able to use the 911 system to endanger others without consequence. This legislation is deeply meaningful to me, and I am honored to have played a role in effecting this long-needed change.”

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  107. Re: False reports to police:

    When my mother had cancer, and was enrolled in “hospice at home” (Sloan Kettering wanted to send her far away and even tried lying that she might come home after that) I used to flush the toilet a lot there early in the morning. The downstairs neighbors complained, but I had to, not wanting to block the toilet.

    So one day a policeman and a policewomen come in response to a report that my mother is being beaten.

    They were informed of the cancer, and saw her sitting on a loveseat, and the policewomean said she was crying out in pain from the cancer. Except this was not so. There was no noise. She had no pain just tiredness, because I gave her a lot of Vitamin B1. But police like to make assumptions that leave everybody innocent.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  108. On a side note, the prosecutor might face an unexpected challenge:

    The Manhattan district attorney’s decision to charge a white woman with filing a false police report against a Black man in Central Park does not have the support of one key person: the victim himself.

    The man, Christian Cooper, has not cooperated with the prosecution’s investigation. The woman, Amy Cooper, lost her job and was publicly shamed after a video Mr. Cooper made on May 25 was posted online; it showed her calling 911 to claim an “African-American man” was threatening her. Those consequences alone, Mr. Cooper said at the time, were in his view perhaps too much punishment.

    “On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” Mr. Cooper said in a statement on Tuesday. “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.” But he added that he understood there was a greater principle at stake and that this should be defended. “So if the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me.”

    Dana (25e0dc)

  109. Please, for the love of everything holy… let the guy rub your dog’s belly… he said he likes to do it and you know damn well the dog likes it too.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  110. Whoopsie, jack mccoy wouldnt make that mistake.

    Narciso (7404b5)

  111. They can compel him to testify with a subpoena or even a material witness warrant. I wonder if Cyrus “The R Stands For Rinkydink” Vance will go that far.

    nk (1d9030)

  112. He doesn’t have Jack McCoy’s job. He has Adam Schiff’s job.

    nk (1d9030)

  113. @13, they don’t just need him to testify. They need him to convince a jury that nothing he said would have made a reasonable person fell threatened.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  114. I think that’s uncalled-for.

    Dave (1bb933) — 7/7/2020 @ 9:55 am

    Then you should read the next comment where I explained why I said that.

    DRJ (aede82)

  115. They or the defense also need his phone records/videos and emails if he discussed this with anyone.

    DRJ (aede82)

  116. Should we all agree that no charge should be brought the elements of which cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at the time the charge is brought?

    Yes, and that is my policy and the policy of my office. I know some ethics rules say only probable cause is necessary but I disagree.

    Is your primary point A) this is a weak charge that will be difficult to prove, B) that the prosecutor should not have brought this charge, or C) both? And if it is C, is it because A automatically entails B?

    I would rephrase A as “this is a weak charge that cannot be probed to a rational jury beyond a reasonable doubt” and then the answer is A, B, and C, and yes, because A = B.

    Do we agree that the prosecutor’s action here is indefensible?

    Patterico (58d68d)

  117. @111. In Central Park?!

    See #7; ‘crackerjack’ idea.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  118. “ Do we agree that the prosecutor’s action here is indefensible?”

    – Patterico

    No. I don’t agree with the action, but that doesn’t make it “indefensible.”

    Leviticus (681fa7)

  119. No. I don’t agree with the action, but that doesn’t make it “indefensible.”

    OK, can you offer a defense, then? I’m not looking for a criticism of her behavior. I’m looking for a defense of the prosecution that says: here is how a prosecutor could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, taking on and not ignoring the toughest possible defense that someone like Patterico might offer on her behalf.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  120. And what?

    Suppose she had been armed, and when she stepped away from him, instead of pulling out her phone to call the cops, she’d pulled out a piece and shot him instead, Bernie Goetz style?

    if she killed him, then in California, she would be guilty of manslaughter at a minimum, even if the jury believed she honestly felt her life was in danger, because that belief would be so obviously unreasonable.

    Or held him at gunpoint while waiting for the police? Because she had been threatened and not every person reacts to stress in the same way.

    That sounds like false imprisonment and assault with a firearm, and the defense of self defense would not be available in California because there is no reasonable belief in the necessity of such force. If she pulled a piece immediately after he said his threat, it would be a closer call but still would in my view be excessive force because she could not reasonably view his threat as a threat of immediate deadly force.

    That’s why we want people to call the cops if they feel endangered unless the situation gets extreme.

    If she should be given a pass on what she did do, where would you draw the line between permissible and sanctionable reactions to stress?

    You’re mixing up separate strands of analysis. I’m using the fact that people react to stress differently to argue that one should not invariably assume that a certain action in response to stress is required to demonstrate a certain emotion. I’m not arguing that the fact that people respond differently to stress excuses one’s responsibility to act reasonably, in situations where the law imposes a reasonableness requirement.

    Where I think people get confused is that I strongly suspect New York’s false reporting statute has no reasonableness requirement — i.e. people commit no criminal violation by reporting a crime unreasonably as long as they genuinely believe that they are witnesses or potential victims of a crime. By contrast, the examples you cite, where someone pulls a gun and shoots it or points it or holds someone captive — require reasonableness, with the sole exception of murder, in which an unreasonable belief in the need to act in self-defense does not excuse your action entirely but does reduce it to manslaughter.

    What exactly does being told “I’m going to do something you won’t like” give one license to do?

    Well, again, it depends on the circumstances, but I’ve tried to lay some of the fallacies in your analogies and arguments.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  121. “ OK, can you offer a defense, then?“

    – Patterico

    Sure. If the prosecutor looked at the available information and concluded that no reasonable jury could conclude that Mr. Cooper’s words/actions rose to the level of a “threat,” as that term exists in the law, then that prosecutor could readily conclude that Ms. Cooper had reported a “threat” that had not occurred, and had thereby made a false report.

    If someone waves at me on the street, and I feel subjectively threatened, call the police and report that this person has threatened me, have I made a false report?

    Leviticus (681fa7)

  122. 93

    “… That a black man can utter a threat and not be held accountable …”

    Not all threats are crimes.

    James B. Shearer (272cde)

  123. 102

    “… being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a particular individual did not subjectively feel there was a threat.”

    Is that what the law requires? Or is it sufficient to prove that a reasonable person would not have felt threatened (as in self defense cases)?

    James B. Shearer (272cde)

  124. 103

    “… B) that the prosecutor should not have brought this charge …”

    I am going to go for B. Even if the woman is guilty this is the equivalent of charging a drunk who has run into a tree and is now paralyzed (while hurting no one else) with drunk driving.

    James B. Shearer (272cde)

  125. You’re mixing up separate strands of analysis. I’m using the fact that people react to stress differently to argue that one should not invariably assume that a certain action in response to stress is required to demonstrate a certain emotion.

    Alright, lets back off “invariably” then. We’re talking about a specific case, where two people did specific things. I look at the evidence available, and I see a woman who is angry and aggressive, not in fear of or in actual danger of physical harm. My opinion is based on certain specific things the two people did and didn’t do, and my experience of how people generally act, as I’ve explained until it irritated you.

    I’m not arguing that the fact that people respond differently to stress excuses one’s responsibility to act reasonably, in situations where the law imposes a reasonableness requirement.

    Where I think people get confused is that I strongly suspect New York’s false reporting statute has no reasonableness requirement — i.e. people commit no criminal violation by reporting a crime unreasonably as long as they genuinely believe that they are witnesses or potential victims of a crime.

    Based on the statute that Leviticus quoted, you are right about that. But in that case I wonder why there’s even a law.

    By contrast, the examples you cite, where someone pulls a gun and shoots it or points it or holds someone captive — require reasonableness, with the sole exception of murder, in which an unreasonable belief in the need to act in self-defense does not excuse your action entirely but does reduce it to manslaughter.

    OK, well that is a legal point I misunderstood (the lack of a reasonableness requirement).

    Well, again, it depends on the circumstances, but I’ve tried to lay some of the fallacies in your analogies and arguments.

    And so you have. :)

    But “it depends on the circumstances” (in their totality) is what I have been arguing since my first post in this thread.

    Dave (1bb933)

  126. If someone waves at me on the street, and I feel subjectively threatened, call the police and report that this person has threatened me, have I made a false report?

    Not in most places, and not even in New York before June 12 of this year, but now it’s a crime in the state of New York to call 911 because a black person scared you.

    nk (1d9030)

  127. Christian Cooper says he doesn’t want her prosecuted, and that he will not co-operate with the prosecution (can someone avoid that? Legally or is it maybe often practicably, since he’d have to be subpoenaed? Or is it that the case only because he can lie under oath and say he doesn’t remember? Is he needed to authenticate the recording? Or to simplify the process?)

    He says that if Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance wants to prosecute her, he’ll have to do it without him..

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  128. If someone waves at me on the street, and I feel subjectively threatened, call the police and report that this person has threatened me, have I made a false report?

    nk @128: not in most places, and not even in New York before June 12 of this year, but now it’s a crime in the state of New York to call 911 because a black person scared you.

    here are still some extra elements necessary to convict someone of filing a false report, according to the the summary I cited @108.

    It has to be: “without reason to suspect a crime or an imminent threat.” That is, “not for any particular threat” If a person perceives an emergency, it sounds like more leeway may be given.

    It applies not only to blacks, but to a member of any protected class. Certain classes are not protected. Not political opinion or affiliation, for instance. But only race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.

    Of course, all malicious 911 calls should be treated equally, at least at the level of the law. And this law may attempt to criminalize some 911 calls that are not malicious, but where they can argue, the person making the call had no basis for it.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)

  129. “ OK, can you offer a defense, then?“

    – Patterico

    Sure. If the prosecutor looked at the available information and concluded that no reasonable jury could conclude that Mr. Cooper’s words/actions rose to the level of a “threat,” as that term exists in the law, then that prosecutor could readily conclude that Ms. Cooper had reported a “threat” that had not occurred, and had thereby made a false report.

    If someone waves at me on the street, and I feel subjectively threatened, call the police and report that this person has threatened me, have I made a false report?

    This is a very poor defense of the prosecutor’s actions because it utterly ignores the key element o the statute that you quoted above, namely that the reporting party made the report

    knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated to be false or baseless,

    Your entire defense of the prosecutor is premised on the argument that no threat (as that term exists in the law) actually occurred. To avoid splitting hairs over what a “threat” is I am going to define it for our purposes as “a threat that a reasonable person would believe justifies intervention by law enforcement.”

    So conceptually we have two things that a prosecutor must prove to secure a conviction:

    1) That there was no threat that a reasonable person would believe justifies intervention by law enforcement, AND

    2) That the lady phoned police “knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated” by her was “false or baseless.”

    I have conceded #1. What your defense of the prosecutor utterly ignores is point #2. You act as if I never said that the issue all along is point #2. But I have. No matter how much you talk about point #1 as if it were the only issue, it is not the only issue.

    So, we are back to square one. I maintain that the prosecutor’s action is indefensible. You maintain that you disagree with it but that it is defensible. Fine. I repeat my challenge:

    Can you offer a defense of the prosecution that says: here is how a prosecutor could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt — including the element that the lady knew her claim was false or baseless — while taking on and not ignoring the toughest possible defense that someone like Patterico might offer on her behalf, specifically to include the facts that a man said to a woman in an isolated area: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.” Your job is to show beyond a reasonable doubt that when she reported that language as a threat that she knew she was saying something baseless or false.

    I submit to you that it is impossible to make that case with a straight face. But go ahead and try.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  130. Based on the statute that Leviticus quoted, you are right about that. But in that case I wonder why there’s even a law.

    Well, it would apply to an actual SWATting (as opposed to a situation like this one which you absurdly compare to a SWATting despite the fact that she did not falsely assert that Mr. Cooper was armed, which is the central feature of any actual SWATting).

    Patterico (115b1f)

  131. Patterico wrote

    to conceptually we have two things that a prosecutor must prove to secure a conviction:

    1) That there was no threat that a reasonable person would believe justifies intervention by law enforcement, AND

    2) That the lady phoned police “knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated” by her was “false or baseless.”

    I have conceded #1. What your defense of the prosecutor utterly ignores is point #2. You act as if I never said that the issue all along is point #2. But I have. No matter how much you talk about point #1 as if it were the only issue, it is not the only issue.

    If the prosecutor felt that Mr. Cooper’s testimony, when combined with the video, would convince a jury that she knew the threat was baseless they would be justified in charging. I watched the video, I think her demeanor changed in a way that looked calculated. I’m not sure it was, but I could have been convinced that it was.

    Now that Mr. Cooper has indicated he won’t cooperate with the prosecution I don’t see any justification to proceed with the prosecution.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  132. Patterico,

    Setting aside the argument that “splitting hairs over what is a ‘threat'” may be precisely what is called for here, you continue to accuse me of ignoring things I am not ignoring.

    Mental states are proved by inference and circumstantial evidence all the time. That is the point I am making about #2.

    If (per your stipulation) no reasonable person could say there was a “threat” (per your definition), then it is not a stretch to believe that Ms. Cooper KNEW there was no “threat” when she reported a “threat” – i.e. “knew her claim was false or baseless.” This is presumably what a prosecutor would seek to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

    I also agree that we are talking past each other to some strange degree, but I don’t there’s any bad faith involved on either side. I am certainly not vested in success of this prosecution – as I have said, I agree with you that the charge should not have been brought. I just see it as a closer call than you do.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  133. “Trial court erred in convicting defendant of third-degree falsely reporting an incident because the issues of whether a burglary occurred and whether defendant provided false information about it were relevant to the element of whether defendant knew the reported information was false or baseless or he reasonably believed that a burglary had occurred, and the trial court did not provide the jury with the legal definition of burglary. People v Sassi, 122 A.D.3d 779, 995 N.Y.S.2d 611, 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7590 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep’t 2014), app. denied, 24 N.Y.3d 1221, 28 N.E.3d 45, 4 N.Y.S.3d 609, 2015 N.Y. LEXIS 602 (N.Y. 2015).

    Leviticus (efada1)

  134. “There is a duty when reporting an occurrence calling for police, fire or other emergency service entailing rapid vehicular response, to do so truthfully and this is a duty of reasonable conduct imposed by common law as well as by statute. Daas v Pearson, 66 Misc. 2d 95, 319 N.Y.S.2d 537, 1971 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1810 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.), aff’d, 37 A.D.2d 921, 325 N.Y.S.2d 1011, 1971 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6970 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep’t 1971).

    Leviticus (efada1)

  135. “Even if accepted as true, defendant’s factual allegations that his mental condition and inadequate medication to control his condition impacted his conduct at time of offense (third degree falsely reporting incident) did not warrant dismissal of information in furtherance of justice. People v Dodard, 178 Misc. 2d 242, 680 N.Y.S.2d 393, 1998 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 451 (N.Y. City Crim. Ct. 1998).”

    These are all annotations regarding the statute I cited earlier. Whether this is the statute under which Ms. Cooper was charged, I do not know.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  136. If (per your stipulation) no reasonable person could say there was a “threat” (per your definition), then it is not a stretch to believe that Ms. Cooper KNEW there was no “threat” when she reported a “threat” – i.e. “knew her claim was false or baseless.” This is presumably what a prosecutor would seek to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    Well, “not a stretch to argue” and “can prove beyond a reasonable doubt” are two very different things, and only the latter justifies a criminal charge. Charging someone where your best argument as to one of the elements is that it is “not a stretch to argue” it is, in my view, indefensible.

    As to your case citations, I cannot and will not use Westlaw or Lexis to research this and I’m just hanging my hat on the plain language of the statute which requires the prosecution to show that she made the report “knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated” by her was “false or baseless.” If you’re saying that the courts have created out of whole cloth a requirement that the defendant’s conduct also be reasonable, then that strikes me as activism but I suppose it could technically justify the charge. (Have you read the cases and are you asserting that this is what they say in context?)

    Moreover, the fact that a charge can be technically justified does not necesssarily mean it should be brought; I could technically justify a perjury charge against each and every defendant I ever convicted of murder who testified in his own defense, but I think many would argue that such an action would send a counterproductive message that could chill defendants’ willingness to testify, just as this charge chills people’s willingness to call the police when they feel threatened.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  137. Also, your argument appears to be an argument that a lack of reasonableness automatically equals subjective intent. I’ve told you I’ve spoken to women who find the guy’s language threatening. Perhaps I should not be saying it’s unreasonable to perceive a threat given the conversations I have had.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  138. “Well, “not a stretch to argue” and “can prove beyond a reasonable doubt” are two very different things, and only the latter justifies a criminal charge.”

    – Patterico

    If Ms. Cooper ends up convicted by a jury of her peers of making a false report, will it be because the prosecutor proved her culpable mental state beyond a reasonable doubt? Or because the jury is a bunch of SJWs with an axe to grind?

    I have skimmed the cases I cited. In context, they support the annotations I provided, but there appears to very little justification or discussion of the origins of the imposed reasonableness requirement. It could be created out of whole cloth, perhaps, or the result of some NY canon of construction. I do not know.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  139. Patterico:

    I repeat my challenge:

    Can you offer a defense of the prosecution that says: here is how a prosecutor could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt — including the element that the lady knew her claim was false or baseless —

    The fact that she threatened to make a report that “an African american man” was threatening her life – when he was only threatening to lure away her dog – would seem to prove it was false and they both knew it.

    Now you probably need testimony to enter this part into evidence, (which could theoretically be gotten by subpoenaing him as a hostile witness) but Christian Cooper wrote:

    ME: “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.”

    HER: “What’s that?”

    ME [to the dog]: “Come here, puppy!”

    HER: “He won’t come to you.”

    ME: “We’ll see about that.” . . . I pull out the dog treats I carry for just such intransigence. I didn’t even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog.

    We know all of this thing because his sister chose to put the video he took on line. Then he put something on the record to clarify and explain.

    Sammy Finkelman (70b0bc)


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