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White woman faces charge after calling 911 on Black man in Central Park

Video reignites conversation on false 911 calls
Central Park video reignites conversation on false 911 calls 04:57

Amy Cooper, the White woman who called 911 and claimed that she was being threatened by a Black man who asked her to leash her dog in New York City's Central Park, will be prosecuted for filing a false report, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced Monday.

"Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree," a press release said Monday. "Our office will provide the public with additional information as the case proceeds. At this time 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."

Cooper, who was dubbed "Central Park Karen" after the incident, called the police after a Black man who was bird-watching asked her to leash her dog in an area where leashing is required. She repeatedly identified the man, Christian Cooper, by his race in her 911 call, demanding they "send the cops immediately" and falsely accusing him of threatening her life. (The two Coopers are not related.)

The dog remained off-leash throughout the confrontation, and the video Christian Cooper took went viral. When police arrived, they determined that the two engaged in a verbal dispute and no one was arrested or given a summons, an NYPD spokesperson said. 

Following the incident, Amy Cooper was fired from her job at the investment management company Franklin Templeton. She issued an apology in which she said she is "not a racist."

Christian Cooper on being racially targeted while birdwatching in Central Park 04:22

Vance said an arraignment will be held on October 14 and charging documents will be available once filed.

Christian Cooper declined to comment Monday on the charge against Amy Cooper. In an interview last month with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King, he said, "She basically ... pulled the pin on the race grenade and tried to lob it at me." But he has also said he was "uncomfortable" with the amount of backlash she received, including losing her job.

Attorney Robert Barnes, who said he represents Amy Cooper, issued a statement saying, "Once all the facts are known, Amy Cooper will be found not guilty of the single, misdemeanor charge filed in this case."

He decried the "rush to judgment by some in the public" and what he called an epidemic of "cancel culture." "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?"

Sophie Lewis contributed to this report.

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