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NEW YORK – Amy Cooper, the white woman in Central Park who called police on a Black man bird watching, called authorities a second time and falsely accused the man of trying to assault her, prosecutors say.
Cooper was arraigned Wednesday and is facing a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting an incident to police after she called 911 in May and falsely said Christian Cooper, the birdwatcher who asked her to leash her dog in an area that requires that dogs be on leashes, was threatening and tried to attack her.
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In a previously unreported detail, Amy Cooper made a second call to 911 in which she falsely said that "an African American man 'tried to assault' her," according to a criminal complaint against her.
After police arrived to the scene, Cooper backtracked and told an officer that the man did not try to assault her or touch her.
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Christian Cooper recorded the incident and shared video of it on Facebook, which quickly went viral and led to Amy Cooper's firing from her asset management firm.
The video, however, only showed Amy Cooper falsely saying that Christian Cooper was threatening her, not that he "tried to assault her."
The encounter occurred the same day that George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis as a white police officer dug his knee into Floyd's neck. Video of Floyd's death was also first shared on social media and sparked weeks of unrest across the country demanding racial justice and changes to policing.
"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," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement Wednesday.
"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."
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Vance's office first announced they were pursuing charges in the case in July. Cooper is facing a class A misdemeanor, which can carry up to a year in prison, according to New York law.
However, Executive Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said during the Wednesday arraignment that the DA's office would work with the defense on a program for Cooper to take responsibility and "educate her and the community on the harm caused by such actions."
An attorney listed for Cooper did not immediately respond to USA TODAY's request for comment. Cooper did not enter a plea to the misdemeanor charge and is to appear in court again in November.
Cooper quickly apologized for the incident, but her employer, Franklin Templeton, fired her the next day. The video garnered national media attention, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned Cooper's actions, saying they exemplified hatred that has "no place in our city."
In the video of the incident shared by Christian Cooper, Amy Cooper is seen holding her dog by its collar and approaching Christian Cooper, demanding he stop recording, then quickly dialing 911.
White woman who called 911 on Black birdwatcher made 2nd call saying claiming assault
Amy Cooper initially called 911 reporting that the Black man, Christian Cooper, threatened her, and in a second call claimed he assaulted her, authorities said.The woman, Amy Cooper, 40, "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" during the incident on May 25, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a news release.
"I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life," Amy Cooper says in the video.
Christian Cooper said he was in an area of the park called the Ramble known for its birdwatching. However, Cooper said dogs off-leash can disrupt the birds and plants, so when he saw Amy Cooper with her Cocker Spaniel, he asked her to leash the animal.
Before he started filming, Christian Cooper said he pulled out dog treats and offered them to the pet, knowing that many dog owners do not want a stranger to feed their animal so they immediately restrain it.
Amy Cooper refused and instead called police. In the video, Amy Cooper's pleas to the 911 dispatcher become more frantic, and she asks that the dispatcher "please send the cops immediately."
However, once Amy Cooper put the leash on the dog, which had been gasping for air as the woman held its collar, Christian Cooper says, "Thank you" and the video ends.
In a statement issued in May in response to the incident, the New York Police Department said that officers were called to the area just after 8 a.m. When they arrived, "police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute. There were no arrests or summonses issued; both parties went on their way."
Christian Cooper told NBC New York in the days that followed that he started filming because, "We live in an age of Ahmaud Arbery where Black men are gunned down because of assumptions people make about Black men, Black people, and I’m just not going to participate in that."
Woman in racially-charged Central Park 911 call expected to plead guilty
However, Christian Cooper has said he is not aiding the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation in any way.
"I’m ambivalent about the prosecution and have chosen not to aid the investigation," he wrote in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post.
"I think it’s a mistake to focus on this one individual. The important thing the incident highlights is the long-standing, deep-seated racial bias against us Black and brown folk that permeates the United States – bias that can bring horrific consequences, as with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis later the same day I encountered Amy Cooper, or just small daily cuts."
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A demonstrator holding a placard reading "The Police drools, The State wipes, No Justice No Peace" takes part of a march to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of Adama Traore, a Black man in police custody, whose case has mobilized broad anger against police brutality and racial injustice, in Beaumont Sur Oise, north suburb of Paris, Saturday, July 18, 2020. The demonstration in Beaumont sur Oise is honoring Adama Traore, who died on his 24th birthday in July 2016 after an arrest in circumstances that remain unclear. But it's also about broader anti-government grievances, and climate activists are co-organizing this year's protest.
Activists, some wearing face coverings as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, sit on the green at Parliament Square in central London on June 28, 2020 as they listen to speakers during a Black Lives Matter protest against racism. - British activists continue protests sparked by the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the United States.
People demonstrating for black lives matter gather at the Str. des 17. Juni in Tiergarten park on June 27, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Thousands of demonstrators took part to voice their support for racial equality and to honour the memory of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police in Minneapolis sparked protests worldwide.
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People demonstrating for Black Lives Matter gather at the Street. des 17. Juni in Tiergarten Park on June 27, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.
People march holding a banner that reads "Let us breathe" during a protest in memory of Lamine Dieng, a 25-year-old Franco-Senegalese who died in a police van after being arrested in 2007, in Paris, Saturday, June 20, 2020. Multiple protests are taking place in France on Saturday against police brutality and racial injustice, amid weeks of global anger unleashed by George Floyd's death in the US.
A man shouts as he joins a march toward Parliament Square in central London on June 20, 2020 during a Black Lives Matter protest against racism. British activists continue protests sparked by the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the United States.
Protesters hold up placards during a demonstration on June 14, 2020, in Strasbourg, eastern France, as part of the 'Black Lives Matter' worldwide protests against racism and police brutality. A wave of global protests in the wake of US George Floyd's fatal arrest magnified attention on the 2016 death in French police custody of Adama Traore, a 24-year-old black man, and renewed controversy over claims of racism and brutality within the force.
People wearing face masks hold up placards during a Black Lives Matter rally in Millennium Square on June 14, 2020 in Leeds, England. Black Lives Matter Rallies continue across the UK following the death on 25 May 2020 of an African American man, George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police. His death sparked protests across the United States as well as demonstrations of solidarity in many countries around the world.
An injured demonstrator is helped away as people gather during a rally as part of the 'Black Lives Matter' worldwide protests against racism and police brutality, on Place de la Republique in Paris on June 13, 2020.
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A view shows protesters standing on the statue of Marianne on Place de la Republique in Paris on June 13, 2020, during a rally as part of the 'Black Lives Matter' worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.
Police detain a protester in front of the US embassy in Ankara, on June 12, 2020 during a 'I Can't Breathe' demonstration following the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the United States.
Activists, some wearing face coverings or face masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, hold placards as they attend a Black Lives Matter protest march as it passes in front of Buckingham Palace, en-route to Parliament Square in London on June 12, 2020. Britain has seen days of protests sparked by the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the United States.
Protestors make a fist during protests in London, June 12, 2020 in response to the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, that has led to protests in many countries and across the U.S.
Mask-clad protesters gather for a demonstration in support of US protesters over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes, and against police violence outside the U.S. embassy in the Israeli Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv on June 12, 2020.
Protestors gather at the Town Hall for a Black Lives Matter protest rally to express solidarity with U.S. protestors in Sydney on June 12, 2020 and demand an end to Aboriginal deaths in custody in Australia.
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Protestors hold a placard in front of a billboard with a slogan in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, near Westminster Bridge in central London on June 12, 2020.
A man wearing a face mask raises his fist as he takes part in a rally on June 9, 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland during a demonstration against racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed while apprehended by police in Minneapolis.
Protesters wearing face masks kneel on the corniche est in Dakar on June 9, 2020, during a rally in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and against racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed while apprehended by police in Minneapolis. Some 50 people attended the protest, held symbolically on the Atlantic coast at the location where a memorial to the victims of the slave trade is to be erected.
Protesters demonstrate against police brutality, in the Mathare slum, or informal settlement, of Nairobi, Kenya, June 8, 2020. The protest against police brutality in Kenya was in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in response to the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, that has led to protests in many countries and across the US.
People look at the pedestal of the toppled statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, England, June 8, 2020, following the downing of the statue on Sunday at a Black Lives Matter demonstration. The toppling of the statue was greeted with joyous scenes, recognition of the fact that he was a notorious slave trader — a badge of shame in what is one of Britain’s most liberal cities.
Hundreds of demonstrators gather on the Champs de Mars as the Eiffel Tower is seen in the background during a demonstration in Paris, France, June 6, 2020, to protest against the recent killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, after being restrained by police officers on May 25, 2020.
Anti-racism demonstrators take a knee near Toronto Police Headquarters during a march on June 6, 2020 in Toronto, Canada, protesting the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after being restrained by police in Minneapolis.
Thousands of people demonstrate in Cologne, Germany, June 6, 2020, to protest against racism and the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis. Across the world, disgruntled people, representing a broad spectrum of society, marched this weekend as one to protest against racial injustices at home and abroad.
Protesters hold placards as they attend a demonstration in Parliament Square in central London on June 6, 2020, to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
Actor John Boyega delivers a speech during a Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park on June 3, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The death of an African-American man, George Floyd, while in the custody of Minneapolis police has sparked protests across the United States, as well as demonstrations of solidarity in many countries around the world.
A demonstrator attends a protest under the slogan Black Lives Matter, outside parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Wednesday June 3, 2020, over the death of George Floyd in the United States. Floyd died in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minn.
A barricade burns during a demonstration Tuesday, June 2, 2020 in Paris. Thousands of people defied a police ban and converged on the main Paris courthouse for a demonstration to show solidarity with U.S. protesters.