Charge filed against white woman who called police on black birdwatcher in Central Park

Screenshot from May 25, 2020 video published by Christian Cooper.
Screenshot from May 25, 2020 video published by Christian Cooper. Copyright Christian Cooper/AP
By Emma BeswickAP & AFP
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A white woman who called police 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 that is punishable by up to one year in jail.


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.

Central Park this morning: This woman's dog is tearing through the plantings in the Ramble. ME: Ma'am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there. HER: The dog runs are closed. He needs his exercise. ME: All you have to do is take him to the other side of the drive, outside the Ramble, and you can let him run off leash all you want. HER: It's too dangerous. ME: 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. HER: What's that? ME (to the dog): Come here, puppy! HER: He won't come to you. ME: We'll see about that... I pull out the dog treats I carry for just for such intransigence. I didn't even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog. HER: DON'T YOU TOUCH MY DOG!!!!! That's when I started video recording with my iPhone, and when her inner Karen fully emerged and took a dark turn...

Publiée par Christian Cooper sur Lundi 25 mai 2020

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.

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