Amy Cooper charged with filing false police report on Black bird watcher
The charge is punishable to up to a year in jail
Amy Cooper has been charged with calling the police on a Black bird watcher and lying that he threatened her over the Memorial Day weekend in New York’s Central Park. The announcement was made Monday by the Manhattan district attorney.
Cyrus R. Vance stated that Cooper was indicted with filing a false report in the third degree against Christian Cooper, who is no relation to her. The charge is punishable by one year in jail or community service, the New York Times reported. She was issued a desk appearance ticket on the misdemeanor charge and will be arraigned on October 14.
“Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree,” Vance said. “We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.”
The controversy began in May when Amy, a white woman, was in the Ramble section of New York ‘s Central Park with her dog Henry, who was off his leash. As that is against park regulations, Christian requested that she put the dog, whom she is seen jerking around on camera, on the leash.
A Harvard graduate, Christian is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society. The communications professional explained in a Facebook post that Amy was “tearing through the plantings” and he also asked her to go to another part of the park. Amy refused and began yelling at him. Christian took out his phone and began to film the encounter.
At one point, Amy threatened to tell the police that a “Black man” was threatening her, even though it’s clear from the footage, Christian did no such thing.
“I’m in the Ramble, there is a man, African-American, he has a bicycle helmet and he is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” Amy shouted to the 911 operator.
She continued, “I am being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately!”
Amy was immediately met with backlash once the video went viral and accused of weaponizing her whiteness against an innocent, unarmed Black man. She apologized the next day for her actions.
“I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash,” she said in a statement.
Christian accepted her apology and told the Times that any of us were capable of making mistakes. He wasn’t sure if he wanted her life torn apart because she leaned into a dark impulse.
“She went racial. There are certain dark societal impulses that she, as a white woman facing in a conflict with a Black man, that she thought she could marshal to her advantage,” he said.
“I don’t know if it was a conscious thing or not,” he added. “But she did it, and she went there.”
However, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights began an investigation into her actions. Amy was also fired from her V.P. position at Franklin Templeton. She was made to surrender her dog to the Abandoned Angels organization, where she adopted him, as the video showed her tightly gripping her dog’s collar throughout. After an investigation, Henry was returned to her recently.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!