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 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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