Woman who called cops on Black birdwatcher made 2nd 911 call, prosecutors reveal

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Amy Cooper made 2nd 911 call to falsely accuse Black bird-watcher
Amy Cooper appeared in court on Wednesday.

CENTRAL PARK -- The woman who called 911 on a Black man that she incorrectly claimed was threatening her in New York's Central Park briefly appeared in court, as her lawyers work out a plea arrangement that will likely require her to perform community service.

Cooper was caught on video back in May in a verbal dispute with birdwatcher Christian Cooper, no relation, whom she accused of threatening her and her dog and then, of trying to assault her.

Amy Cooper answered her desk appearance ticket for filing a false report on Memorial Day and appeared virtually in arraignment court on Wednesday morning.

The court appearance and paperwork revealed Amy Cooper made a second call to 911, alleging the man "tried to assault" her inside the Rambles in the park.

It was the first time authorities revealed a second 911 had been made.

Only the first call -- alleging the man was threatening her and her dog, with Cooper stressing he was an "African-American man" -- had been previously reported, after it was posted to social media.

When police arrived, Cooper told the officers that she made the calls. The officer asked if the man she was describing "tried to assault or touch her in any way, and she said no."

"Using the police in a way that was both racially offensive and designed to intimidate is something that cannot be ignored," assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said. "This process can be an opportunity for introspection and education. Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring with the defense, a program designed to have the defendant take responsibility for her actions, but also educate her and the community on the harm caused by such actions. We hope this process will both enlighten, heal and prevent similar harm to our community in the future."

Cooper was ordered to return to court on Nov. 17, when the possible plea arrangement would expect to be finalized.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. released the following statement:

"Our Office is committed to safety, justice, and anti-racism, and we will hold people who make false and racist 911 calls accountable. As alleged in the complaint, Amy Cooper engaged in racist criminal conduct when she falsely accused a Black man of trying to assault her in a previously unreported second call with a 911 dispatcher. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the police response to Ms. Cooper's hoax. Our Office will pursue a resolution of this case which holds Ms. Cooper accountable while healing our community, restoring justice, and deterring others from perpetuating this racist practice."


Kemberly Richardson has more on the investigation into the Central Park confrontation that went viral.

In a Facebook post back in May, Christian Cooper claimed the dog was "tearing through the plantings" and told her she should go to another part of the park. When she refused, he pulled out dog treats, causing her to scream at him to not come near her dog.

He pulled out his phone and started recording Amy calling the police to report she was being threatened by "an African-American man."

The widely watched video posted on social media sparked accusations of racism and led to Amy getting fired from her job and surrendering her dog. The group that took the dog did return it to Amy after an evaluation from a veterinarian and a coordinated effort with law enforcement.

Amy Cooper released an apology through a public relations service after the initial incident, 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."

Christian Cooper told "The View" he accepts Amy Cooper's apology, but he believes the incident is part of a much deeper problem of racism in America that must be addressed.

"I do accept her apology," Christian said. "I think it's a first step. I think she's gotta do some reflection on what happened because up until the moment when she made that statement ... it was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker, and then she took it to a very dark place. I think she's gotta sort of examine why and how that happened."

The woman at the center of the Central Park dog incident caught on camera has been fired, her employer confirmed on Tuesday.

New York City's Commission on Human Rights also launched an investigation into the verbal dispute.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.