White woman charged after racist Central Park confrontation

Viral video shows white woman call 911 on black man in Central Park. (Credit: Melody Cooper/Twitter)
Viral video shows white woman call 911 on black man in Central Park. (Credit: Melody Cooper/Twitter) (WKMG)

NEW YORK – 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 and 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?”

Reached by phone on Monday, Christian Cooper said he had no reaction or comment.

After the backlash, Amy Cooper 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 was seen by many as a stark example of everyday racism and fueled outrage in the period leading up to the street protests sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd. It also 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.