Posted on July 6, 2020 at 4:45 pm by West Sider
Amy Cooper, who called police on a Black birdwatcher named Christian Cooper in Central Park on May 25, was charged on Monday with filing a false report, a misdemeanor. District Attorney Cyrus Vance said “We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.”
Birdwatcher Christian Cooper had confronted Amy (no relation) in The Ramble, a wooded section of the park in the high 70s, to ask her to leash her dog. Dogs are required to be on leashes at all times in that section of the park.
When Amy did not leash the dog, Christian told her “if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it,” he wrote afterward on Facebook. He then took out dog treats and offered them to the dog, at which point Amy called the police, claiming in an increasingly agitated tone that an “African-American man” was “threatening me and my dog.” (The police arrived after the two had left the area and classified the confrontation as a verbal dispute.)
Christian filmed the call, and he and his sister published it on social media. Amy’s actions were denounced as dangerous racist provocations by commentators including the mayor. She was fired and handed her dog back to the rescue organization where she had adopted it, though she has since gotten the dog back. Amy apologized and said she had “made false assumptions about his intentions,” claiming she was frightened by his statements.
Local State Senator Brian Benjamin also introduced legislation to make these sorts of incidents to be charged as hate crimes.
Christian Cooper has since called for authorities to more stringently enforce the laws against off-leash dogs.
People convicted of filing a false report as a misdemeanor face up to a year in jail.