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Amy Cooper made a second 911 call when falsely accusing a Black bird watcher of assault, prosecutors say

She faces a misdemeanour charge for falsely reporting an assault 

Danielle Zoellner
Wednesday 14 October 2020 17:38 BST
Man responds after video shows white woman ranting at him in Central Park

Amy Cooper, the New York woman who called the police on a Black bird watcher in Central Park, reportedly made a second 911 call during the interaction,  the Manhattan district attorney’s office revealed. 

The incident that went viral on social media occurred on 25 May and resulted in Ms Cooper, 40-year-old white woman, losing her job and being reprimanded publicly for her behaviour. 

She appeared in court remotely on Wednesday to acknowledge the district attorney’s office charging her with a misdemeanour for falsely reporting an assault. 

During the court appearance, it was revealed that Ms Cooper made not one but two 911 phone calls during her interaction with Christian Cooper, the bird watcher. 

Joan Illuzzi, a senior prosecutor, said that Ms Cooper used the police in her two 911 calls were “both racially offensive and designed to intimidate." In these phone calls, the woman claimed Mr Cooper, who has no relation to Ms Cooper, was trying to assault her. 

She then backtracked her story once officers arrived on the scene, admitting he did not try to attack her. 

“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,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.

Ms Illuzzi said the actions by the defendant “can’t be ignored”, but she added the Manhattan district attorney’s office was exploring a resolution on the case that would include Ms Cooper publicly taking responsibility for her actions and attending an education program. 

“We hope this process will enlighten, heal and prevent similar harm to our community in the future,” Ms Illuzzi said.

The case was adjourned until 17 November, which would give Ms Cooper’s lawyers time to reach a deal with prosecutors on a potential plea bargain. 

Information about the second 911 call was the latest development from the case involving Ms Cooper. 

The incident in May started when Mr Cooper asked the woman to put her dog back on the leash in Central Park. Mr Cooper, an avid bird watcher, later said he’s had to ask many people to keep their dogs on a leash in that area, which is the park’s rule. 

Ms Cooper reacted negatively to him asking her to leash her pet, and Mr Cooper then started to record the interaction in a video that has since been viewed more than 44 million times online.

The video showed Ms Cooper calling 911 and saying multiple times an “African American” man was threatening her in the park, making a point to emphasise his race to the operator. 

Video of the encounter was released just one day before protests would erupt over the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota – further sparking a conversation about race in American and the police’s role in systemic racism. 

Ms Cooper could face up to one year in prison if found guilty of the misdemeanour unless she reaches a plea bargain with the Manhattan district attorney’s office. 

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