White woman charged after racist Central Park confrontation

New York News

FILE – This file image made from May 25, 2020 video provided by Christian Cooper, shows Amy Cooper with her dog talking to Christian Cooper in Central Park in New York. Amy Cooper, walking her dog who called the police during a videotaped dispute with Christian Cooper, a Black man, was charged Monday, July 6, 2020, with filing a false report. (Christian Cooper via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A white woman who called the police during a videotaped dispute with a Black man over her walking her dog without a leash in Central Park was charged Monday with filing a false police report.

In May, Amy Cooper drew widespread condemnation was fired from her job after frantically calling 911 to claim she was being threatened by “an African-American man,” bird watcher Christian Cooper. On the video he recorded of the woman, he sounds calm and appears to keep a safe distance from her.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement on Monday that his office had charged Amy Cooper with falsely reporting the confrontation, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a year behind bars. She was ordered to appear in court on Oct. 14.

Cooper’s attorney, Robert Barnes, said Cooper would fight the charge. His client, he said, has already lost her livelihood and “her public life. Now some demand her freedom?”

Cooper’s attorney, Robert Barnes, said Cooper would fight the charge. His client, he said, has already lost her livelihood and “her public life. Now some demand her freedom?”

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 she refused, he pulled out dog treats, causing her to scream at him to not come near her dog.

Amy Cooper also warned him she would summon police unless he stopped recording.

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” Amy Cooper is heard saying in the video as she pulls down her face mask and struggles to control her dog.

“Please call the cops,” Christian Cooper says.

Full Coverage: Racial injustice

“There’s an African American man, I’m in Central Park, he is recording me and threatening myself and my dog. … Please send the cops immediately!” she says during the call before he stops recording.

Police say by the time they responded, they were both gone.

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Associated Press writer Michael R. Sisak contributed to this report.

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