Amy Cooper, AKA 'Central Park Karen,' Is Facing Charges of False Reporting

Amy Cooper called the cops on birdwatcher Christian Cooper when he asked her to put her dog on a leash. The incident sparked a national conversation, and now, she is being charged with false reporting.

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Jul. 6 2020, Updated 5:28 p.m. ET

Amy Cooper was dubbed "Central Park Karen" when she called the cops on a Black birdwatcher named Christian Cooper, who asked her to leash her dog, per the park's rules. In the viral video, you can hear her say she is going to call the cops and "tell them that there's an African American man threatening my life."

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In the immediate aftermath of the incident, which took place toward the end of May, Amy Cooper lost her job and her dog. (She and her dog have since been reunited.) Now, she is being charged with filing a false report, a misdemeanor, which, according to The New York Times, is punishable by up to a year in jail.

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She is being charged by the district attorney's office. In a statement, DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said, "Today our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable."

She is scheduled to be arraigned on October 14. Although jail time is possible, she could receive a "conditional discharge" or be sentenced to community service or counseling instead.

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In her phone call to 911, which was recorded by Christian Cooper (no relation) on his phone, Amy Cooper says, "I'm in the Ramble, there is a man, African-American, he has a bicycle helmet and he is recording me and threatening me and my dog." 

After the incident went massively viral, Amy Cooper quickly lost her job in insurance and her dog, though she's since gotten him back. She made a public apology, in which she said, "I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash."

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Her statement continues, "I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris. I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology."

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At the time, Christian Cooper told The New York Times that he was overwhelmed by the viral response to the incident and that he was "uncomfortable" with the frenzy it caused. "If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal," he said.

He told CNN he thought her apology was sincere, but he recognized that what she did was "definitely racist" and stopped short of offering that her apology acknowledged that. "I'm not sure that in that apology she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist," he said. 

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In an interview with Don Lemon on CNN, Christian said, "Is she a racist? I can't answer that. Only she can answer that. And I would submit probably the only way she's going to answer that is going forward. How she conducts herself, and, you know, how she chooses to reflect on this situation and examine it."

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"I find it strange that people who were upset that ... that she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head," he continued. "Where is the logic in that? Where does that make any kind of sense?"

Though Christian Cooper seems extremely level-headed about the whole thing, the fact remains that Amy Cooper did appear to commit a crime when she called the cops that day. And the fact that she will be held accountable for her actions in a court of law is major.

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