UPDATED: 3:37 p.m. ET, July 6, 2020 —
A white woman who lied to police that a Black man was threatening her life in Central Park in May has been charged with the crime of falsifying a police report. Amy Cooper, who was already fired from her job after a viral video showed her racially profiling Black bird watcher Christian Cooper (no relation), now faces the prospects of having a criminal record for her racism.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office made the announcement on Monday afternoon.
The footage showing Amy Cooper feigning fear for her life from a Black man who was only standing near her helped proliferate a series of so-called “Karens,” or white women exerting their white privilege over Black people under disingenuous auspices.
This week, the story went viral — Amy dialed 911 on Christian Cooper (no relation) after he told her that her dog should be put on a leash in a section of Central Park popular for birdwatching. When, Amy refused to listen, Christian says on his Facebook that he tried to give her dog a treat and this is when Amy got defensive.
Soon, Christian started recording Amy, who was already breaking park rules by not having her dog on a leash in the area. Signs nearby clearly communicated this rule. As Christian was recording Amy, she told him that she was going to call the police and “tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.” At this point, Christian was feet, if not yards, away from her and he was the one who told her, “Please don’t come close to me” when she started approaching him. Still, Amy dialed the police and told them that an African American man was threatening her and her dog.
Christian’s video of the incident was posted to Twitter by his sister Melody Cooper and went viral. Amy was renamed “Karen” as a way to categorize her with the many white women who call the police on Black people over minuscule things.
Even though Amy eventually apologized for the incident, the outrage that followed caused a number of repercussion, including possible criminal charges. Check out some of the effects of Amy’s actions below.
1. Her dog was taken away from her
Many people noticed Amy’s rough handling of her dog in the viral video. In some moments, she’s even dragging the pooch by the collar. The visuals caused people to call her out and eventually she “voluntarily surrendered the dog in question” to The Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc., according to their Facebook page.
“Our mission remains the health and safety of our rescued dogs,” they said. “The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health. We will not be responding to any further inquiries about the situation, either publicly or privately.”
2. Amy was terminated from her job
On Monday, Amy Cooper’s employer, the investment firm Franklin Templeton, released a statement saying, “We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind. While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave.”
Approximately 14 hours later, following an internal review, Franklin Templeton announced Amy Cooper’s termination, writing on Twitter, “[w]e do not tolerate racism of any kind…”
3. Calls were made to have Amy Cooper banned from Central Park
According to Patch, the president of the Central Park South Civic Association released a statement saying:
“This disgusting display of intolerance is unacceptable and should never, ever be accepted in the City’s public domain like Central Park. The Central Park Civic Association condemns this behavior and is calling on Mayor de Blasio to impose a lifetime ban on this lady for her deliberate, racial misleading of law enforcement.”
4. Amy is being investigated by Commission on Human Rights
According to CBS New York, the NYC Commission on Human Rights opened an investigation into the Central Park incident.
“At a time when the devastating impacts of racism in Black communities have been made so painfully clear—from racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, to harassment of essential workers on the frontlines—it is appalling to see these types of ugly threats directed at one New Yorker by another,” explained Sapna Raj, deputy commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Efforts to intimidate black people by threatening to call law enforcement draw on a long, violent and painful history, and they are unacceptable.”
The NYC Commission on Human Rights has the power to fine people who violate the law and they can award damages to the victims for emotional distress.
5. Amy could face criminal charges
According to New York Post, the NYPD is working with the Manhattan DA’s Office to decide whether charges should be brought against Amy.
“Our detectives are working hand in hand right now with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office,” NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. “Obviously, we don’t want to make an arrest if the [DA’s office] isn’t sure if they can prosecute that.”
Monahan continued, “So we’re taking a look at exactly what the calls were, speaking to Christian, speaking to Amy, speaking to everyone involved, looking through all the videos to see if it sustains a charge. The uproar because of this, what she’s caused because of that call, we condemn that action, and if we can make that arrest, we will.”
“If it’s a false call and we can prove it, there’s going to be an arrest … If someone intentionally makes a false call and we can prove it, they will be arrested right away. There is no place for that in this city,” he added.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the call on Thursday, saying Amy should be investigated for falsely accusing Christian of threatening her.