A woman who called police to claim a man was threatening her after he allegedly asked her to leash her dog in New York’s Central Park was charged with false reporting, said Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s Office on Monday.
“Today our Office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree,” Vance said in a statement, referring to the woman in the clip.
A video of her encounter with the black man, Christian Cooper, went viral on social media. The two are not related.
“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,” Vance said.
In the video, Christian Cooper is heard asking Amy Cooper to place her dog on a leash before she threatens to call the police, saying she will them them “there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”
Later, Amy Cooper is heard saying on the phone that he is “threatening me and my dog.” She added: “I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately.”
Days later, after the footage was shared frequently on Twitter, Cooper issued an apology.
“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,” she said in a statement in May.
“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. I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology,” she added.
Christian Cooper said he accepted the woman’s apology.
“I do accept her apology. It’s a first step. I think she’s got to do some reflection on what happened,” he told “The View” in May. “Up until the moment when she made that statement and made that phone call, it was just a conflict between a birder and a dog-walker.”
However, his comment didn’t stop news outlets from publishing information about Amy Cooper’s personal life, her husband, and other details.
“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she told CNN in May, adding that the extensive social media scrutiny “destroyed” her “entire life.”
The company in which she was employed, Franklin Templeton, also fired her after the video went viral, and reports said that she gave up her dog to a shelter.