Mon, 26 Oct 2020

The white woman who called police on a peaceful black birdwatcher in New York's Central Park in May could take a special programme to avoid prison, the Manhattan district attorney's office said on Wednesday.

"Using the police in a way that was both racially offensive and designed to intimidate is something that cannot be ignored," a spokesperson for the Manhattan DA office told AFP after a virtual hearing on the case.

"Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring with the defence a program designed to have the defendant take responsibility for her actions but also educate her and the community on the harm caused by such actions," the spokesperson said.

COLUMN | Melanie Verwoerd: We can and must be better - lessons from America

Plea deals between prosecutors and defendants are common in the US, and may allow defendants to be treated with leniency.

Amy Cooper, 40, rose to internet infamy in May when she appeared in a video calling police to claim that she was being threatened by an African-American man.

The clip was filmed by the man, Christian Cooper (no relation to the woman), who said he had asked the woman to leash her dog.

"There is an African-American man, I'm in Central Park. He's recording me and threatening me and threatening my dog," she then tells the operator.

The exchange prompted outrage on social media, with users calling the woman a "Karen", a term popular online to describe an entitled white woman.

According to the complaint, she then called the police back to say that the man had "tried to assault her".

Amy Cooper risks one year behind bars for filing a false police report.

The video of her call came around the same time that footage went viral of a white Minneapolis police officer killing African-American man George Floyd.

Floyd's death triggered anti-racism demonstrations across the US.

Source: News24

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