Amy Cooper, the white woman who falsely accused a black birdwatcher of threatening her in Central Park, is to be officially charged
A white woman who called the police over a black birdwatcher who asked her to put her dog on a leash in New York's Central Park is to be officially prosecuted.
Amy Cooper, 41, made the call on May 25 and told the police that the black man had threatened her. She is now being charged with filing a false report which is a Class A misdemeanor that can carry a jail sentence of up to a year.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said of the prosecution: "Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree...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 altercation was recorded and uploaded on social media. The video subsequently went viral, making global headlines and was met with significant outrage. It was seen as an example of everyday racism and was posted on the same day that unarmed black man George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis.
Christian Cooper – a prominent member of the bird watching community in New York – filmed the encounter after he asked Ms Cooper to put her dog on a lead in an area popular with bird watchers.
Ms Cooper proceeded to call 911 saying, "I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life”
She then tells the police: "I'm in the Ramble, there is a man, African American, he has a bicycle helmet and he is recording me and threatening me and my dog."
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm
— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
Ms Cooper's actions were widely condemned as racist. She was fired from her job at Franklin Templeton where she managed an insurance portfolio and issued a public apology.
She has been ordered to appear for an arraignment on October 14.
After the incident, Mr Cooper (who is not related to Ms Cooper) told the Washington Post,"If I had to guess, I’d say she was just looking for any way to get an advantage in the situation. It was a stressful situation. We were at odds, and she was looking for a way to get a leg up. … And she just went to a place that she should not have gone.”
Image: Video @melodyMcooper Twitter
Read more: Children in Direct Provision frequently face racism in schools, report finds
Read more: 'Don't feel guilty for being white – do something with it' Dr Ebun Joseph speaks out
Read more: Racism in Ireland: "People would say things like 'go back to your own country'"