A New York City woman was indicted on charges this week after a viral video of her calling police to say she felt threatened by a Black man who asked her politely to leash her dog in Central Park in May.
Amy Cooper, 41, was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor in New York.
“Our Office is committed to safety, justice, and anti-racism, and we will hold people who make false and racist 911 calls accountable,” said District Attorney Vance. “As alleged in the complaint, Amy Cooper engaged in racist criminal conduct when she falsely accused a Black man of trying to assault her in a previously unreported second call with a 911 dispatcher. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the police response to Ms. Cooper’s hoax. Our Office will pursue a resolution of this case which holds Ms. Cooper accountable while healing our community, restoring justice, and deterring others from perpetuating this racist practice.”
According to charges, on May 25 Cooper called 911 and told the dispatcher that a Black man, identified as Christian Cooper (no relation), was threatening her in the Central Park Ramble. In an unreported second phone call, Cooper repeated the accusation and added that the man “tried to assault her.” When responding officers arrived, Ms. Cooper admitted that the man had not “tried to assault” or come into contact with her.
Christian Cooper, who was bird watching in the Ramble that day, took video of the altercation, which was posted online by his sister Melody sometime after the incident. The video gained a ton of media attention:
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm
— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
Following international backlash, Amy Cooper was fired from her position at Franklin Templeton and she surrendered her dog back to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue Inc. Amy then later issued an apology to Christian Cooper, which he ultimately accepted. However, Christian Cooper said on “The View” that this incident is rooted in deeper racism problems in the United States.