Charge filed against white woman who called police on black birdwatcher in Central Park
A white woman who called 911 on a black man after he asked her to put her dog on a lead in New York’s Central Park is facing a criminal charge.
Amy Cooper is accused of filing a false report, which is a misdemeanour that can carry a punishment of up to one year in jail.
She was seen calling the police in a video that went viral in May 2020 to claim she was being threatened by “an African-American man” — bird watcher Christian Cooper.
Her actions drew widespread condemnation and she was fired from her job.
The confrontation in Central Park, which took place on May 25, happened on the same day that George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, died while in police custody.
Floyd’s death sparked weeks of anti-racism protests both in the US and internationally.
Christian Cooper filmed his encounter with Amy Cooper after noticed she had let her dog off its lead, which is against the rules in the ramble area of Central Park.
In the video, posted on social media, he claimed the dog was “tearing through the plantings” and told her she should go to another part of the park.
When the animal’s owner refused, he pulled out dog treats, causing her to scream not to come near her pet.
Amy Cooper is seen making the call and saying: “There is a man, African-American, he has a bicycle helmet – he is recording me and threatening me and my dog.”
She then adds: “Please send the cops immediately!”
Amy Cooper released an apology after the backlash from the video and said she “reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his (Christian Cooper’s) intentions.”
“He had every right to request that I leash my dog in an area where it was required,” she said in the written statement. “I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris.”
Her attorney, Robert Barnes, said his client would fight the charge, adding she has already lost her livelihood and “her public life”.
Amy Cooper is set to appear before a judge on October 14.