The woman who was captured on video calling the police on a black man in New York City’s Central Park after he admonished her about keeping her dog on a leash has been charged with a misdemeanor by the Manhattan district attorney.
Amy Cooper, a former vice president and head of investment solutions at Franklin Templeton Investments and a 2009 Chicago Booth MBA, was fired from her job after a video went viral that showed her, a white woman, threatening to call the police on Christian Cooper, a Black man who had asked her to leash her dog in a semi-wild part of the park popular with birdwatchers. In the video, after escalating the confrontation, Amy Cooper then proceeds with the call. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced Monday (July 6) that she has been issued with a desk appearance ticket (an order to appear in Criminal Court) for filing a false police report and will be arraigned October 14.
Amy Cooper, who is not related to Christian Cooper, faces up to a year in jail but is more likely to be sentenced to community service or counseling.
“Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree,” Vance said in a statement. “We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.”
VIDEO OF CENTRAL PARK RACISM VIEWED NEARLY 45 MILLION TIMES
Amy Cooper’s racism, which was captured by Christian Cooper’s smartphone, occurred Memorial Day weekend and sparked a nationwide debate about the history of white people weaponizing police against persons of color. A day later, the country watched in horror as video surfaced of a Black man in Minneapolis, George Floyd, being killed by a police officer who kneeled on his back for nearly nine minutes with such force as to stop him from breathing. Protests soon erupted across the United States and have been going on ever since.
To some, Amy Cooper’s behavior was shocking. When she was on the line to the police department, she nervously shouted, “There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog.” Then, despite no apparent movement or threat from Christian Cooper, she brought her voice to a higher pitch. “I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble!” she cried into the phone. “Please send the cops immediately!”
Posted to Twitter on Memorial Day, the video has been viewed nearly 45 million times.
‘IT’S NOT EXCUSABLE, IT’S NOT DEFENSIBLE’
The incident prompted an outcry, including an angry statement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The video out of Central Park is racism, plain and simple,” de Blasio wrote on Twitter. “She called the police BECAUSE he was a Black man. Even though she was the one breaking the rules. She decided he was the criminal and we know why. This kind of hatred has no place in our city.”
Franklin Templeton decided to fire Cooper soon after the video went viral. “Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park’s Ramble area yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company noted on its Twitter feed.
Cooper has been apologetic, saying she reacted out of fear. “I’m not a racist,” she insisted to CNN. “I did not mean to harm that man in any way. (My) entire life is being destroyed right now. I think I was just scared. When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening. It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.”