White woman who called 911 on Black birdwatcher made 2nd call saying claiming assault

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A white woman whose 911 call and confrontation with a Black birdwatcher in Central Park was captured on video made a previously undisclosed second call alleging that the man had assaulted her, authorities said Wednesday.

The woman, 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” on May 25, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a news release.

Cooper is charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for making a false report, the district attorney said.

In her initial 911 call, Cooper said the man was threatening her.

In a second call that was first revealed Wednesday, Cooper “repeated the accusation and added that the man ‘tried to assault her.’ When responding officers arrived, Ms. Cooper admitted that he had not ‘tried to assault’ or come into contact with her,” the news release said.

“Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the police response to Ms. Cooper’s hoax,” Vance said.

Amy Cooper.Christian Cooper

The incident occurred in a part of Central Park called the Ramble.

The birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, noticed Amy Cooper had let her cocker spaniel off its leash against the rules in that part of the park, he has recounted. He said he asked her to put her dog on a leash. When she did not, he pulled out his phone and began recording.

Amy Cooper is shown in the video telling Christian Cooper to stop recording her or that she will call the cops and tell them, “There’s an African American man threatening my life.” She repeats this statement several times.

Christian Cooper does not appear to move any closer to her in the video. When he refuses to stop recording her, Amy Cooper grabs her dog’s collar and moves away from him to call the police, the video shows.

“There is an African American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog,” she said on the call. “Please send the cops immediately!”

The video and publicity about the incident spurred accusations of racism and led to Amy Cooper’s getting fired from her finance job. She also surrendered her dog to a shelter where she had gotten it.

Christian Cooper said he stopped recording once Amy Cooper put a leash on her dog.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

Image: Tim FitzsimonsTim Fitzsimons

Tim Fitzsimons reports on LGBTQ news for NBC Out. 

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