Things That Matter

Amy Cooper, The Woman Who Called The Cops On A Black Man Birdwatching In Central Park Is Being Charged

On Monday, the Manhattan district attorney announced that Amy Cooper, the white woman who called the police on a Black man who was birdwatching in Central Park, will be facing prosecution.

On May 25 of this year, Cooper was involved in an incident now referred to as “the Central Park birdwatching incident. At the time, Cooper had been walking with her dog through Central Park when she was confronted by a Black man named Christian Cooper who asked her to put her dog on a leash. Cooper and her dog were in an area of the park where her dog was supposed to be on a leash in a wooded area of Central Park called the Ramble. Their confrontation escalated when Amy Cooper refused Christian Cooper’s request. Cooper became upset and claimed that she was going to call the police, Christian Cooper turned on his phone and began to record.

In the video, Christian Cooper remains calm and relatively quiet while Amy Cooper frantically tells police he had threatened her and her dog.

The video begins with Amy Cooper pulling her dog by the collar and asking Christian Cooper to “Please don’t come close to me.” At one point she moves closer to Christian Cooper saying “Sir, I’m asking you to stop recording me,” In response, Cooper asks the woman to keep her distance. (It’s important to note that it’s unsure as to whether he was doing this for safety measures because of Coronavirus or something else.)

Amy Cooper then tells Christian Cooper in the video that she plans on calling the police saying “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life. Soon she gets on the phone saying “He is recording me and threatening me and my dog.” During the call, Amy Cooper appears to struggle to restrain his dog while she puts him on a leash. At one point, the dog even appears to be choking. “I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble,” Amy says in the phone, growing increasingly distraught. “Please send the cops immediately!”

The video ends with Christian Cooper telling the woman “Thank You.” Soon after taking the recording, Christian Cooper posted it on Facebook.

In an interview with CNN, Amy Cooper apologized. “I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way.”

The New York Police Department also told CNN that when officers finally responded to the scene, neither Christian Cooper nor Amy Cooper was present. “I videotaped it because I thought it was important to document things,” Christian Cooper told CNN. “Unfortunately we live in an era with things like Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are seen as targets. This woman thought she could exploit that to her advantage, and I wasn’t having it.”

According to CNN, Christian Cooper stressed the importance of keeping dogs on leash saying.

Central Park attracts over 230 bird species. Christian Cooper explained “That’s important to us birders because we know that dogs won’t be off-leash at all and we can go there to see the ground-dwelling birds…People spend a lot of money and time planting in those areas as well. Nothing grows in a dog run for a reason.”

Speaking to CNN, Amy Cooper said that her “entire life is being destroyed right now” explaining further that she was “was just scared.” Amy Cooper has since been placed on administrative leave by her employer and her dog has been surrendered to the shelter he was adopted from years ago until the dispute is resolved.

In a Facebook post related to the incident,  Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue Inc. confirmed that the dog had been voluntarily surrendered.

Thank you to the concerned public for reaching out to us about a video involving a dog that was adopted from our rescue…

Posted by Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. on Monday, May 25, 2020

“Thank you to the concerned public for reaching out to us about a video involving a dog that was adopted from our rescue a few years ago,” they assured. “The owner has voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue while this matter is being addressed. Our mission remains the health and safety of our rescued dogs. The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health. We will not be responding to any further inquiries about the situation, either publicly or privately. Thank you for your understanding.”

Recently, Christian Cooper spoke out in defense of the woman who used police to threaten him.

Speaking to NPR in an interview, Cooper urged people reaching out to Amy Cooper to remain civil. “Now, should she be defined by that, you know, couple-of-seconds moment? I can’t answer that. I think that’s really up to her and what she does going forward,” Christian Cooper said in the interview. “I am told there has been death threats and that is wholly inappropriate and abhorrent and should stop immediately… I find it strange that people who were upset that … that she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head. Where is the logic in that? Where does that make any kind of sense?”

Now Cooper is facing a charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

According to District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Manhattan police are committing themselves to holding perpetrators of false reporting responsible. “At this time I would like to encourage anyone who has been the target of false reporting to contact our office. We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable,” the said in a statement.

As of Monday, Cooper has been issued a desk appearance ticket and is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 14. According to The New York Times, if she is convicted she “could face a conditional discharge or be sentenced to community service or counseling rather than jail time.”

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Two Black Moms Took Their Kids To Play In A Fountain On The Mall Then Secret Service Officers Swarmed Them With Guns

Things That Matter

Two Black Moms Took Their Kids To Play In A Fountain On The Mall Then Secret Service Officers Swarmed Them With Guns

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Two Black mothers headed to our nation’s capital last week to give their children some playtime in the fountains at the World War II Memorial. The day was hot and the mothers thought the memorial would be a perfect place to let their children cool down and have some fun.

Unfortunately, the day quickly turned sinister when the women and their children were swarmed by Secret Service agents who pointed a rifle at them.

Last Thursday, India Johnson, 26, and Yasmeen Winston, 25, were driving their infants to take a splash in the fountains at the memorial when a Secret Service cruiser drove into their front left bumper.

The two women have reportedly been best friends since seventh grade and are mothers to boys: 13-month-old Sir Quincy (Johnson) and six-month-old G’esus (Winston). Both Sir Quincy and G’esus were sitting in the back seat of the car that they were driving. According to the women, Mother Goose Club was playing on the radio. Then, within seconds of the Secret Service cruiser driving into their car, an officer pointed a rifle at them and yelled “Get out!” and “Put your hands in the air!”

Soon enough, more officers surrounded them with guns. Eventually, Winston and Johnson were handcuffed and separated from their children. According to both women, they were detained without being given a reason as to why and were spoken to by police officers who did not wear masks, despite the current coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Washington Post, “Initially, the women said, an officer told them the vehicle had been reported stolen and that the suspects were two Black men. But the women, both African American, said no men were with them and provided proof that Johnson was the owner. She told the Secret Service she had never reported the car stolen. Eventually, the women were released — without an apology or answers to their questions.”

Winston and Johnson are now demanding that the Secret Service investigate the incident and release the details to the public.

“This incident took place near our national monuments across from the White House,” Timothy Maloney, the women’s attorney, wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray over the weekend. “It occurred after eight weeks of unprecedented national demonstrations about excessive police conduct, some of which took place right there on Constitution Avenue. Has the Secret Service learned nothing this summer?”

Speaking about the incident Winston told the Washington Post “I could have been another Breonna Taylor. I could have been another innocent woman who has no record and got shot.”

In a statement to the Post, a Secret Service spokesperson said that they had received a “query requesting the agency investigate an alleged interaction between Uniformed Division Officers and two members of the public” and that they are looking into the incident.

Winston says she and Johnson have spent the days after the incident completely traumatized.

Winston told the Post that she is currently seeking therapy and their friend is avoiding going outside of her home. “We don’t get in trouble. Nothing like this has ever happened to us. I thought the police were here to serve and protect us, and now it’s really uncomfortable,” she explained.

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Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

Entertainment

Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

StrongBlackLead / Netflix

Netflix has seriously upped its streaming game in the past few months. While 2020 rages on with all of its drama and chaos and heartache, at least Netflix is giving us all some much-needed distraction and entertainment.

The streaming giant already has a fairly large library of amazing Black content for us to binge to our heart’s content, but they’ve just outdone themselves with a brand new slate of some of the best classic Black sitcoms ever made.

With a tweet from the streaming giant’s Twitter account @StrongBlackLead, it was announced that seven hit Black shows from the ’90s and 2000s are hitting Netflix throughout August, September, and October.

Netflix will be adding seven hit Black shows to their lineup and the Internet just can’t handle the news.

Yup, you read that right. Shows we used to watch on networks like UPN, the WB, and BET like Sister, Sister, The GameGirlfriends, and The Parkers will all now be available in once place. Finally. And as if this news wasn’t already enough, Netflix’s @StrongBlackLead also premiered a video celebrating the big announcement with literally all of our favorites: Cue Tracee Ellis Ross, Essence Atkins, Jackée Harry, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Tia and Tamera Mowry, and more making us cry with their collective greatness.

Of course, fans could not handle it, and within minutes of the big announcement Moesha and Girlfriends was trending on Twitter.

“Netflix is finally streaming MoeshaThe GameSister SisterGirlfriends and The Parkers starting from next month. seems like the second half of 2020 won’t be bad after all,” wrote one user.

Here’s a roundup of what we have to look forward to in the next couple of months:

Moesha

Brandy (yes, that Brandy!) playing a high-school student in LA facing very real issues including friend with teen pregnancies, racism, trouble at home – this show had it all and it honestly helped me grow and mature as a kid.

Moesha ran for six seasons on UPN (which IMO was one of the most underrated networks!) and went on to become the biggest success for the relatively new network. Bernie Mack and Usher were frequently recurring guest stars on the show and you never knew who else might back a guest appearance.

Sister, Sister

Tia and Tamera Mowry are identical twin sisters who just happen to reunite in a chance enounter. That’s the opening premise of this next-level show, Sister, Sister. But it’s so much more than that. Everyone from the Olsen twins to RuPaul and Tyrese made guest appearances on this show and I lived for every moment.

In January 2018, a revival of Sister, Sister was confirmed and is currently in the works but as of 2020 it is currently unknown when or if the revival will happen.

Girlfriends

One of the longest-running Black-led TV series, Girlfriends was on the CW for a full eight seasons and won numerous awards. Comprised of an ensemble cast led by Tracee Ellis Ross the show featured major talent in guest appearances including Big Boi, Common, Kelly Rowland, Idris Elba, and Erykah Badu.

The Parkers

A hilarious spin-off from the equally hilarious Moesha, this show had it all! Another show on UPN, The Parkers ran for five seasons and had some big name talent in the likes of Mo’Nique and Countness Vaughn.

And for all you Angelenos, the show is largely centered around Santa Monica College which so many of us went to.

Half & Half

Set in San Francisco, Half & Half aired on the UPN for four seasons and follows the lives of two half-sisters who were completely separated for most of their lives but then come back together. Michelle Williams and Essence Atkins were two of the major stars on the show which went on to be nominated for several awards in each of it’s four seasons.

One on One

One of the hit shows from the UPN network, One on One was on the air for five seasons and took place in Baltimore (and LA in the final season). Everyone from Lil Zane to Chris Brown, Eve, Solange Knowles, Lil Kim, Smokey Robinson, and Lisa Leslie made an appearance on this show – it was fire!

And that theme song, ‘Living One on One’, ughh so good!

Since the murder of George Floyd and the widespread Black Lives Matter movement, Netflix has added a new addition to its platform called “Black Lives Matter.” The new platform is home to all the movies about Black communities, celebrities’ topics, etc. with movies like Moonlight and documentaries like Becoming. Hopefully, with the release of these popular Black sitcoms, more may be added to Netflix like MartinLiving Single, and Fresh Prince.

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