Patterico's Pontifications

7/14/2020

Central Park Birder Explains Why He Won’t Voluntarily Help In Prosecution Of Amy Cooper

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:31 pm



[guest post by Dana]

If you recall, Amy Cooper was charged with filing a false report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail after a confrontation with a birder in the Brambles at Central Park. Today Christian Cooper explains why he will not be helping with the investigation into Ms. Cooper. His deciding factors:

…I believe in punishments that are commensurate with the wrongdoing. Considering that Amy Cooper has already lost her job and her reputation, it’s hard to see what is to be gained by a criminal charge, aside from the upholding of principle. If her current setbacks aren’t deterrent enough to others seeking to weaponize race, it’s unlikely the threat of legal action would change that. Meanwhile, for offenders who don’t suffer consequences like Cooper’s, the law is still there to exact a price.

Would I consider it fair and just if Cooper were found guilty and sentenced to anti-bias training and some form of community service? Yes. But black people know all too well that the criminal justice system often doesn’t work that way — that an ambitious DA with an election next year, in the current social climate, might seek and achieve a sentence of a year behind bars. All for an offense from which I suffered no harm, physical or mental. That wouldn’t be a commensurate punishment.

Raising the specter of what harm might have come to me as a result of Cooper’s false report carries no weight with me; I don’t find speculation useful in this situation, because it’s equally possible that, had the police arrived on the scene while I was still there, they would have done their jobs professionally. And if the fear is that the police would have done me harm as a result of Cooper’s call, then the solution is to fix policing.

So while acknowledging the principle at stake, I must err on the side of compassion and choose not to be involved in this prosecution. Let the DA do his job. He has already decided to pursue charges; if he feels my involvement is essential to the case, he can subpoena me. If subpoenaed, I will testify, truthfully and accurately. Otherwise, the case is the DA’s, not mine.

I know that some people may disagree with my reasoning, and that this decision comes as a disappointment to many who share in the struggle for social justice, and I’m sorry for that. But under the circumstances, it’s the only course I can pursue in good conscience.

–Dana

48 Responses to “Central Park Birder Explains Why He Won’t Voluntarily Help In Prosecution Of Amy Cooper”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (25e0dc)

  2. I think this is a great response. Also

    “And if the fear is that the police would have done me harm as a result of Cooper’s call, then the solution is to fix policing.”

    I’ve always said this about SWATting.

    Davethulhu (5612ad)

  3. I’ve always said this about SWATting.

    Davethulhu (5612ad) — 7/14/2020 @ 3:12 pm

    That’s truly BS. If cops think there’s a hostage situation in an emergency, with weapons and a threat to use them, that’s inherently dangerous. Even a perfect cop trying to handle that is bringing a degree of terror to an innocent victim.

    Cops aren’t magical.

    Dustin (724986)

  4. 4. There are a lot of situations where SWAT teams are used that have nothing to do with hostage situations. Back in the day, the potential for hostage situations in places like LA and NYC was the justification for paramilitary training. Now, every municipal police department in America has some sort of “special response” squad.

    Gryph (08c844)

  5. Please shut up

    Dustin (724986)

  6. 6. ?? Moi?

    Gryph (08c844)

  7. …I must err on the side of compassion…

    Words to live by. Christian Cooper is a breath of fresh air. I would love to have a beer with this guy.

    norcal (a5428a)

  8. But black people know all too well that the criminal justice system often doesn’t work that way — that an ambitious DA with an election next year, in the current social climate, might seek and achieve a sentence of a year behind bars. All for an offense from which I suffered no harm, physical or mental.

    That must have made Cyrus Vance’s day.

    nk (1d9030)

  9. Actually, I disagree with this. Mr Birder should be hauled up on charges of making threats of violence.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  10. He seems like a nice and reasonable person. Which was my impression of him when I listened to the video.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  11. @10, you listened to the video and honestly thought he was threatening her with physical harm?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  12. The lady, herself, apologized. The police officer who responded also handled the situation without guns, tasers, handcuffs or charges. The suckiest suck-sucks who sucks the most in this sucky situation is the sucky DA Cyrus Vance with an election next year. Vote him away!

    nk (1d9030)

  13. DA Cyrus Vance with an election next year. Vote him away!

    Vance could die today and be a rotten corpse on election day and still get elected. This is NY.

    Bored Lawyer (56c962)

  14. “ Mr Birder should be hauled up on charges of making threats of violence.”

    – Kevin M

    lol

    Leviticus (e4a72f)

  15. I’m gonna respond to Kevin M’s comment, but he’s not gonna like it.

    Leviticus (e4a72f)

  16. Hopefully you don’t arrest me for my response.

    The guy implied he was going to “do something she would not like” her pet, or her, if she didn’t do as he demanded. How is that not a threat? For a woman alone in a deserted area, confronted by any man, that would be troublesome. Sure, she’s got a phobia about black folks, but so does Jesse Jackson.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  17. “There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then (I) look around and see someone white and feel relieved.”

    –Jesse Jackson, 1993

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  18. Of course, if she is not charged for panicking, he should not be charged for the menacing.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. “ Hopefully you don’t arrest me for my response.”

    – Kevin M

    I’m the violent threat-maker in this scenario, not the police. I know it’s not obvious, though.

    Leviticus (681fa7)

  20. I feel like I am watching Witness for the Prosecution. Could he be claiming he doesn’t want to testify so that, by being subpoenaed, it will make his testimony that much worse for Cooper — because it will appear he is the reluctant truth-teller?

    DRJ (aede82)

  21. @17

    if she didn’t do as he demanded

    You mean his demand that she obey the law and put her dog on a leash? Remember, he was trying to bird-watch, and it appears that his peaceful and lawful bird-watching had been interrupted previously by dog-owners with their dogs off leash. (Dogs running around tend to scare the birds away.)

    I don’t blame the guy for calling her out.

    norcal (a5428a)

  22. C’mon, that dude was a cross between Steve Urkel and the Damon Wayans Men on Film character on In Living Color.

    urbanleftbehind (c77c6b)

  23. Drivel. No mention of the fact that he told 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.”

    What does “aid the investigation” mean anyway, other than testify? Is he going to put on his Sherlock Holmes cap and grab his magnifying glass and go searching for a CLEW?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  24. Mr. Cooper strikes me as insufferable.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  25. This screed just reinforces my belief that there were two bad actors that day, not just one.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  26. 26

    Agreed, but she instigated the whole affair by flouting the leash law.

    norcal (a5428a)

  27. 26. This screed just reinforces my belief that there were two bad actors that day, not just one.

    Two morons enter, one moron leaves!

    Capsaicin Addict (041266)

  28. Fascinating, Patterico.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  29. Yeah? How?

    Patterico (a9a78d)

  30. Fascinating that you think that this is an unwarranted prosecution driven primarily by politics, and Mr. Cooper thinks and states essentially the same thing, and that you nonetheless dismiss his position as “drivel” and a “screed,”and the man himself as an insufferable bad actor.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  31. 17

    “… How is that not a threat? …”

    It would have to be an unlawful threat. Threatening to do something which you have a legal right to do is generally legal (with certain exceptions such as blackmail). I think his statement was too vague to constitute an unlawful threat.

    James B. Shearer (47a120)

  32. To understand my position (and possibly Patterico’s) invert the races. A black woman is walking her dog, off-leash, in Central Park. A large white man comes along and calls the dog over to him then tells the woman to put a leash on it or “you won’t like what I do!”

    She reacts badly, and calls the police on her phone, saying this “white man” is threatening her.

    If you are her employer, do you fire her?
    If you are the D.A., do you prosecute her? Do you prosecute him?

    Racial justice occurs when the same things happen either way.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  33. If you are her employer, do you fire her?

    No.

    If you are the D.A., do you prosecute her? Do you prosecute him?

    I prosecute neither. I warn her about disobeying the leash law, and him about taking it upon himself to enforce the leash law.

    norcal (a5428a)

  34. Yes. But none of those things happened here.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. 23… two snaps up!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  36. The problem with vague threats is that you can’t complain when someone reads too much into it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  37. The problem with vague threats is that you can’t complain when someone reads too much into it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 7/15/2020 @ 5:26 pm

    This is a good point. Though obviously the weird comment and the screwing with someone’s dog would get you knocked out in Texas, this wasn’t really an assault kind of threat. It still was a deliberate attempt to provoke, by yet another person recording only what the provoked person did, to make them look outrageous.

    Ms. Cooper served the purpose well when she made it racial. I still wonder if Mr. Cooper is feeling a little guilty for ruining someone’s life, but this doesn’t really seem to show he does. It’s more easily understood as another effort to get some positive attention on social media. If he opposes her prosecution, he should simply ask the DA to drop it. His insult of the DA is amusing and probably effective, but he should simply say he forgives the woman (if he does) and wants the matter closed.

    I prosecute neither. I warn her about disobeying the leash law, and him about taking it upon himself to enforce the leash law.

    norcal (a5428a) — 7/15/2020 @ 4:56 pm

    That’s what Sheriff Andy Taylor would do. That’s what hundreds of rural cops do every day. Just speak plainly in hopes that people learn how to get along. Just keep the peace. Law Enforcement and Peace Officer roles are becoming more and more distinct from eachother, and that’s a very bad thing.

    Dustin (d0158a)

  38. That’s what the NYPD cop who responded did.

    nk (1d9030)

  39. True. It would be interesting if we swapped the DA for the cop for a month. Both might learn something.

    Dustin (d0158a)

  40. 38. There are hardly any peace officers left. When you train the police to be paramilitary units, that’s the kind of behavior you get: us vs. them

    Gryph (08c844)

  41. @38

    That’s what Sheriff Andy Taylor would do.

    You know what’s weird, Dustin? I was thinking that very thing a little while ago!

    norcal (a5428a)

  42. The problem with vague threats is that you can’t complain when someone reads too much into it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 7/15/2020 @ 5:26 pm

    Excellent point.

    norcal (a5428a)

  43. You know what’s weird, Dustin? I was thinking that very thing a little while ago!

    norcal (a5428a) — 7/15/2020 @ 7:02 pm

    Police Squad (yes really), Andy Griffith Show, Dragnet, they all convey an idea that this is a very amusing job where you figure out what’s really happening and try to get people to want to do the right thing. The cop has a front row seat to interesting drama, but that’s where the excitement ends. Keeping your cool, keeping your sense of humor, that’s as important as being smart. But cop shows aren’t like that anymore.

    The most popular TV show when most cops were kids was COPS. Tons of night time drug busts. Even Law and Order, which used to be a show I loved in the 1990s, lately has cops drawing their guns practically every episode the last time I watched (And the unwatchable SVU show, sheesh).

    People join the police department with a very different idea of what they signed up to do, than I think a lot of folks think they should do. In my view, the solution is to greatly improve the quality of people who seek to become cops.

    This is all kinda beside the point though. NK is right that in this case the cop wasn’t the problem.

    Dustin (d0158a)

  44. I agree, Dustin. And how did Law and Order SVU become the longest-running drama in TV history? SMDH.

    norcal (a5428a)

  45. When Jerry Orbach went to the great beyond, base model L&O should have not gone through with the Paisan Interregnum (at one point in ’05, the Dets were Dennis Farina and Michael Imperioli, with Anna Parisse as the ADA). Had they rebooted fresh in say 2009 with Sisto/Anderson/Delagarza, they still be on the air.

    urbanleftbehind (ede0b9)

  46. 46

    Yes!

    norcal (a5428a)

  47. Fascinating that you think that this is an unwarranted prosecution driven primarily by politics, and Mr. Cooper thinks and states essentially the same thing, and that you nonetheless dismiss his position as “drivel” and a “screed,”and the man himself as an insufferable bad actor.

    I don’t think he does say that at all. He never acknowledges his part in the bad behavior or how it could have led her to feel threatened; he assumes her call was in bad faith; he says he would be pleased if she were convicted as long as her sentence included only community service; and then he continues to foist the narrative of “the long-standing, deep-seated racial bias against us black and brown folk that permeates the United States — bias that can bring horrific consequences, as with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis later the same day I encountered Amy Cooper, or just small daily cuts.” There’s not a single reason I have heard to believe George Floyd’s death was the result of racism as opposed to callousness and evil having nothing to do with the color of one’s skin, such as in the case of Tony Timpa that you probably never heard of and which I have been meaning to write about (but, as we say to death, not today — I have better things to do with my time).

    I am tired of the lecturing of the insufferable Christian Coopers. Give me Glenn Loury any day of the week.

    It’s really nowhere near as “fascinating” as you assert, Leviticus. It’s the easiest thing in the world to understand.

    Patterico (115b1f)

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