Charge filed against white Central Park 911 caller

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Christian Cooper

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Christian Cooper filmed Amy Cooper after she refused to stop her dog running through woodland

A white woman in New York is facing a criminal charge for calling 911 on a black man after he asked her to put her dog on a lead in Central Park.

Amy Cooper, who was shown calling police in a viral video, is accused of filing a false report, punishable by up to one year in jail.

Ms Cooper lost her job and dog after the incident, and publicly apologised.

Video of the exchange shows Ms Cooper claiming that the black man, who was bird watching, threatened her.

Woman sacked after calling police on black man

The incident occurred on 25 May, the same day that unarmed African-American man George Floyd died in police custody, triggering weeks of national and global anti-racism protests.

“Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance on Monday.

“We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable,” Mr Vance said. He also encouraged “anyone who has been the target of false reporting” to contact the district attorney’s office.

Christian Cooper, who is prominent in the New York bird watching community, filmed his encounter with Ms Cooper, 41, after he asked her to put her dog on a lead to keep it from scaring away birds. Mr Cooper, 57, said he offered the dog treats, as a way to convince Ms Cooper, who is not related to him, to contain her dog.

In response, Ms Cooper called emergency services. She told them: “I’m in the Ramble,” – a wooded area in Central Park – “there is a man, African American, he has a bicycle helmet and he is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” as her tone rose in apparent distress.

“I am being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately!” she said.

Ms Cooper’s actions were widely condemned as racist. She was fired by the investment firm where she managed an insurance portfolio. The pet adoption agency that gave her the dog seen in the video took it back after criticism that the way she held its collar seemed to strangle it.

She is due to appear before a judge on 14 October.

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