When Amy Cooper, a white lady, referred to as 911 from an remoted patch in Central Park the place she was standing together with her unleashed canine on Memorial Day, she stated an “African-American man” was threatening her, emphasizing his race to the operator.
The pending felony cost in opposition to Ms. Cooper seems to be among the many first white individual within the United States has confronted for wrongfully calling the police to make a grievance a couple of Black individual.
“We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable,” stated Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district lawyer.
Ms. Cooper, who was issued a desk look ticket on Monday, is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 14. If convicted, she might obtain a conditional discharge or be sentenced to group service or counseling reasonably than jail time.
Ms. Cooper couldn’t be reached for remark on Monday, however her lawyer, Robert Barnes, stated in an announcement that she can be discovered not responsible and he criticized what he referred to as a “cancel culture epidemic” for a rush to judgment.
“She lost her job, her home, and her public life,” Mr. Barnes stated. “Now some demand her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?”
Mr. Cooper, who has expressed deep ambivalence concerning the severity of the general public response to Ms. Cooper’s actions, stated on Monday that he “had zero involvement” within the district lawyer’s case in opposition to her.
Asked to remark on the pending cost, he stated, “I have no reaction.”
People are hardly ever charged with submitting a false police report, authorized specialists stated, as a result of the authorities don’t wish to discourage the reporting of crimes and since it may be tough to show that an individual made a false report knowingly.
But specialists stated that the proof within the case in opposition to Ms. Cooper was robust and that it might have broader implications in different situations of white individuals making false police experiences in opposition to Black individuals.
“To the extent that this woman was arguably deploying racial stereotypes and weaponizing them, it will make people think twice,” stated Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor and a retired federal choose. “It is a big deal.”
Lucy Lang, a former Manhattan prosecutor and the director of the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution on the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, stated that submitting a false report was “a very troubling crime.”
Adding race to the equation, she added, created “just an absolute recipe for a tragic disaster.”
In a separate transfer meant to deal with the issue of Black individuals being falsely reported to the police, New York state lawmakers approved legislation last month that allows people “a private right of action” if they believe someone called a police officer on them because of their race, gender, nationality or other protected class.
The confrontation between Ms. Cooper and Mr. Cooper, who are not related, occurred when she encountered him in the Ramble, a semi-wild area where dogs must be leashed and hers was not.
Mr. Cooper said he asked Ms. Cooper to leash her dog. When she refused, he said, he tried to lure the dog with treats in hopes of compelling her to restrain her pet.
The encounter turned ugly when Ms. Cooper told Mr. Cooper that she was calling the police and that she planned to tell them an African-American man was threatening her life.
Mr. Cooper’s camera captured what happened next.
“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,” Ms. Cooper, gripping her dog’s collar tightly, says in a hysterical tone to the 911 operator.
Then, before ending the call, she adds, “I am being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately!”
“Thank you,” Mr. Cooper says after she puts her dog’s leash on, just before the video ends.
Mr. Cooper, 57, a Harvard graduate who works in communications, has long been a prominent birder in the city and is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society.
Shortly after video of the episode went viral, Ms. Cooper surrendered her dog, Henry, to the cocker spaniel rescue group she had adopted him from two years earlier. She and the dog have since been reunited.
Ms. Cooper, 41, who had been a head of insurance portfolio management at Franklin Templeton, was fired from her job after the confrontation with Mr. Cooper.
She also issued a public apology and tried to explain her response.
“I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash,” Ms. Cooper said in the statement.
She added that when Mr. Cooper said she would not like what he was “going to do next” and then offered her dog treats, she assumed he was threatening her. Mr. Cooper said the remark was merely meant to signal that he planned to offer the treats.
“I assumed we were being threatened when all he had intended to do was record our encounter on his phone,” Ms. Cooper said.
Sarah Maslin Nir contributed reporting.