New York Woman Charged After Racist Central Park Confrontation

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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 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 for 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. She was ordered to appear in court on Oct. 14.

After the backlash, Amy Cooper was fired from her job and released an apology through a public relations service, saying she “reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his 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.”

Amy Cooper’s 911 call inspired New York state lawmakers in June to pass a law that makes it easier under civil rights law to sue an individual who calls a police officer on someone “without reason” because of their background, including race and national origin.

The new law, which the governor also signed last month, holds an individual who makes such 911 calls liable “for injunctive relief, damages, or any other appropriate relief” in a civil lawsuit.

Amy Cooper was charged under an existing false-report law that’s been long on the books and doesn’t reference race. There was no immediate answer to a message seeking comment on Monday from her lawyer.

The confrontation began early one morning when Christian Cooper said he noticed Amy Cooper had let her cocker spaniel off its leash against the rules in the Ramble, a secluded section of Central Park popular with birdwatchers.

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.

“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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22 COMMENTS

      • You would be scared that the Black man would be killed as Mr. Floyd was? Remarkably enough “being scared” does not mean you can lie to the police.

        • Mr Floyd was a criminal resisting arrest and it was one random incident that occurs once in 3 years and it was by accident.

          How can you compare that to innocent people who’s livelihood in midtown got smashed up from looters, whose daughter gets shot in the streets from occupiers, who gets wacked over their head from protecting their store, when target get vicious smashed by a truck driving into it, security gaurd who gets shot and killed, the violence and uptick in crimes in NYC etc… The list is endless

          Where would you feel safer among cops or a violent Floyd protest.

          Again if a black person videotapped me , I’d be feel greatly threatened in the current enviornment. I think that’s very rational. Your analogy is poor one.

    • To: The world is crazy and getting crazier”- Are you dense or what? Clearly, it is against the Penal Code of the State of New York to file a false police report. The latter is exactly what that female in the tape was doing. She was falsely claiming that an “African-American man was threatening her”. He was not threatening her; he merely politely requested that she keep her dog on a leash, as is required by law, in that section of the park. She did not like that he was recording what she was doing, so she concocted a story, in an effort to retaliate against that person. In the past, I’ve had to ask people not to permit their dogs to do their business on the sidewalk, and to clean up after their dogs, as well as keep their dogs on a leash. Were those careless and selfish dog owners supposed to call the cops, because I asked them to abide by the law?

      • She did not like that he was recording what she was doing, so she concocted a story,

        You almost got it. I’d feel threatened if I was taped by a person of color. Look at the floyd riots you think I want them smashing my windows? I think being recorded nowadays is a threatining feeling

          • umm yes. Don’t you see whats going on outside? Wouldn’t you feel more threatened as well

            And we are talking about when they video tape you. Its not like I am not scared when a white perosn video tapes me either. However, Iw’d be more worried when a perosn of color does based on whats going on around me.

        • if you leash your dog instead of making a scene, you dont have to feel threatened.
          Oh, and BTW, ‘feeling’ threatened doesnt make the cut for being a victim. No matter what side of the greyscale your on.

          • 1) I agree she was wrong and not obeying the law. But once she disobeyed she felt threatened.
            2) I don’t think she is a victim but neither is she guilty

            Give her a ticket for not obeying dog laws. I hate when they leave poop in the street too. All for tickets for that

  1. What does the Floyd riots have to do with this guy taping that woman, who was not obeying the leash law? This incident occurred before the Floyd riots. Ms. Cooper clearly did not tell the 911 operator that “she felt threatened”, which were your words, but that “an African-American man was threatening her”. In the past, the cops used to beat people up for taping them. There was an ugly incident on Kings Highway a few years ago, where the cops did just that to some Yidden. However, the courts have ruled that it is not illegal to tape the cops, as long as the ones doing the taping are not interfering with the cops. Hence, if you tape someone from a distance, it is not illegal. Clearly, that was the case here. If the person had not taped that whack job, and the cops would have arrived, she would have falsely claimed that the guy threatened her, and he would have been arrested. He had to tape her, to protect himself.

    • The Floyd riots outline why its rational to feel threatened. Because when a back perosn is mad they do crazy stuff. And when its video tapped and dispayed…

      Ms. Cooper clearly did not tell the 911 operator that “she felt threatened”, which were your words, but that “an African-American man was threatening her”.
      Thats the same thing. If someone threatens you , you feel threatened. She wasn’t thinking so deep like you and being mayin in every word

      he courts have ruled that it is not illegal to tape the cops
      Ok noone said its illegal but an individual may feel threatened. I once cut off a white hick on the highway by accident. He move up to my window and started tapping me. i was scared that night that i’d be all over FB. Now imagine when a riled up balck man sees it in the current environment.

      If the person had not taped that whack job, and the cops would have arrived, she would have falsely claimed that the guy threatened her, and he would have been arrested. He had to tape her, to protect himself.
      Maybe maybe not but she still has a right to feel threatened.

      I still don’t see why its irrational

  2. Good for you Cyrus Vance. You finally have an opponent you can beat. You ignored multiple charges brought against Harvey Weinstein and you do not pursue justice for the thousands that died in nursing homes because Cuomo sent them to their deaths in spite of a ship converted to a hospital. The only man who has cause to complain, Christian Cooper, admitted he never wanted to ruin her life by getting her fired, ostracized by social media and having her dog removed from her home (later returned).

  3. Amy coopers behavior was nothing less than irrational, she was in the wrong from the beginning, whatever her real problem is she needs mental help. As far as the bird watcher goes, thank G-d he had the presence of mind to stay calm, polite and to record her. In another scenario she could have ruined her life. That goodness the only life she ruined is her own.

  4. And just to be clear to all, I don’t think its wrong that people are a little scared to be around near frum hiemisha yidden during corona either.

    Some fears that are vested in community wide sociological surroundings and habits are rational.

  5. Again, Mr. Educated Archy, I can feel threatened when I see a large dog (even on a leash), coming towards me. However, I can’t legally call the cops, and tell them that the dog walker “threatened me”, because his dog made me feel threatened. Regarding being taped, I would not like a person taping me, either. However, if it occurs in public, and the person is not getting in your face, and preventing freedom of movement, legally there is nothing that can be done. You could ask them to stop taping, but you cannot threaten to break their camera, or remove the camera. In this case, the woman with the dog, advanced towards the bird watcher, when she didn’t like being taped. It was at that point, that she called the cops, and told them that the other person “was threatening her”, as she didn’t like the guy telling her to leash her dog, and taping her. In fact, she later admitted that she was wrong. Her stupidity cost her a good job, with an investment firm. Unfortunately, there are some people of all backgrounds, who want to start a fight, at the drop of a hat, no matter how politely you ask them to either do something, or not to do something.

  6. Educated: “The Floyd riots outline why its rational to feel threatened. Because when a back perosn is mad they do crazy stuff”. Only black people do crazy stuff when they get mad? Apparently you have never seen an angry Jew do crazy stuff? I suggest you review some comments in the the VIN groups for examples.

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