Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

Amy Cooper: white woman who called police on black man in New York's Central Park is charged

Incident occurred hours before death of George Floyd in Minneapolis

New York prosecutors have charged a white woman with filing a false report after she accused a black man of threatening her life in New York's Central Park.

Cy Vance, Manhattan's District Attorney, on Monday said Amy Cooper, 41, faced arraignment on October 14 over the incident, which was captured on a video that went viral and began a national conversation about white privilege.

"Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree,” Mr Vance said.

"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."

Filing a false report is a crime punishable by up to one year in jail.

Ms Cooper had been walking her dog on May 25 in Central Park when she encountered Christian Cooper, no relation, an avid bird-watcher.

Ms Cooper was shown in the video saying she would tell the police "there's an African-American man threatening my life", which was false.

She also hysterically tells the police that Mr Cooper was threatening her and her dog, referring to him twice as "African-American".

Mr Cooper said the row began when he insisted that her dog should be on the lead and claimed it was too dangerous.

He then tried to give the dog a "treat" and she warned him off as the row increased and he began filming.

The incident occurred a few hours before the death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis, after a white police officer knelt on his neck, sparking worldwide anti-racism demonstrations.

The Central Park footage attracted nearly 45 million views on Twitter after originally appearing on Mr Cooper’s Facebook.

After the video went viral, Ms Cooper was fired from her job at the assets manager Franklin Templeton and she publicly apologised.

She has denied to US media that she was racist and said she was scared when Mr Cooper “came out of the bush”.

In a statement on Monday, her lawyer Robert Barnes said she would be found not guilty, and said there had been a "rush to judgment" by some about the case.

"She lost her job, her home and her public life. Now some demand her freedom?" Mr Barnes said.

"How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?"

Updated: July 8, 2020 09:06 AM

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