Why some people don't think Amy Cooper should've been charged for calling the police on a Black man

Joanna Taylor
Tuesday 07 July 2020 09:15
news

The white woman who called the police on a Black birdwatcher and baselessly accused him of threatening her life has been charged with filing a false police report.

Amy Cooper was filmed telling Christian Cooper, a Black man who is unrelated to her, that she would tell police she was being threatened by "an African American" after he asked her to put her dog on a leash.

Cooper then dialled 911, just hours before George Floyd was killed by a police officer which sparked the Black Lives Matter protests.

The video of the incident, which took place in Central Park, New York, went viral, as one of a string of videos depicting white people calling the police on Black people for no reason.

Amy Cooper later apologised to Christian Cooper and his family, claiming that she is "not racist" after being fired from her job at finance company Franklin Templeton.

Some people welcomed New York district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr's announcement that Cooper faces prosecution, especially because Black people are so regularly cheated by the criminal justice system.

But others have pointed out that if the Black Lives Matter movement is to call for an overhaul of the criminal justice system and take a stance against incarceration, then Amy Cooper shouldn't be an exception.

Academic and abolitionist Marc Lamont Hill wrote in a thread on Twitter that we have to "begin to produce alternative possibilities" to "retributive approaches".

He concluded:

Who will be most likely criminalized if we intensify prosecutions for filing false police reports? Not the Amy Coopers of the world.

Journalist and commentator Josie Duffy Rice wrote that charging Cooper "reinforces the idea that justice can only be found in the disastrous carceral system we’ve created".

In her Twitter thread, she asked why we believe a "racist, violent system can be the solution to racism and violence".

Duffy Rice also pointed out that Cooper has already faced a different kind of justice because "we all know her face and story" as well as her having lost her job and her dog.

Journalist Jamil Smith added that imprisoning Cooper will not help to stop racist police brutality from happening.

So few white people face justice for falsely accusing Black people of crimes that it is tempting to see Amy Cooper being charged with a crime as a satisfying conclusion to her story and the beginning of change.

But Cooper being charged does not address the system racism inside the police or the prison system which Black Lives Matter has staunchly taken a stand against.

Trending