White woman charged after calling police on black man in park in viral video

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·2-min read

A white woman walking her dog who called the police during a dispute with a black man in a park has been charged with filing a false report.

Amy Cooper drew widespread condemnation for calling police to report she was being threatened by “an African-American man” while walking her dog in Central Park, in the city of New York, in May.

Bird watcher Christian Cooper, who is of no relation to the charged woman, was filming Ms Cooper during a dispute about having her dog off its leash in the park.

Amy Cooper pictured with her dog as she calls the police on black American Christian Cooper in New York's Central Park. Source: Facebook
Amy Cooper has been charged with filing a false report after calling police on black American Christian Cooper in New York's Central Park. Source: Facebook

In the video Amy Cooper was heard saying to a 911 operator “there's an African-American man threatening my life", accusing Christian Cooper of threatening her and her dog. She referred to him twice as "African-American”.

The video has more than 44.7 million views on Twitter.

Christian Cooper, pictured, filmed Amy Cooper in May. Source: Facebook
Christian Cooper filmed Ms Cooper in May when she called police on him. Source: Facebook

The incident occurred a few hours before the death of black American George Floyd in Minneapolis, where a police officer pinned his neck to the ground with a knee, sparking nationwide protests over racial injustice.

After video of the Central Park incident went viral, Ms Cooper was fired from her job as asset manager at Franklin Templeton, and she publicly apologised.

In a statement on Monday (local time), Ms Cooper's lawyer Robert Barnes said she would be found not guilty, and faulted a “rush to judgment” by some about the case.

“She lost her job, her home, and her public life. Now some demand her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?,” Mr Barnes said.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said in a statement on Monday (local time) that his office had charged Ms Cooper with falsely reporting the confrontation, a misdemeanour.

She was ordered to appear in court on October 14.

After the backlash, Ms 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.”

With Associated Press

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