Woman Who Called Police On Black Man While Walking Dog In New York City Allegedly Falsely Accused Him Of Assault In Second 911 Conversation

(Screenshot/New York Times)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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The woman who called the police to accuse a black man of threatening her and her dog in New York City’s Central Park allegedly had a second conversation with a 911 dispatcher, and falsely claimed the man “tried to assault her,” the New York Times reported Friday in an updated story. 

Amy Cooper appeared in court remotely to answer misdemeanor charges of filing a false police report and negotiate a plea deal that would allow her to avoid jail time, the Times reported. She was caught on camera in May by Christian Cooper in Central Park with an unleashed dog. The situation escalated after he asked her to keep her dog on a leash, and when he wouldn’t stop recording her she threatened to call the police and tell them “there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”

While speaking with New York Police Department dispatch, Amy reportedly specified the man’s race twice and claimed he had threatened her and her dog’s safety.

Joan Illuzzi, a senior prosecutor, said that Amy used police in a way that was “both racially offensive and designed to intimidate” and her actions were “something that can’t be ignored.”

In a second conversation that wasn’t shown in the viral video, Amy told a dispatcher that Christian was putting her in danger and claimed that he tried to assault her, a criminal complaint filed by the District Attorney’s Office said according to the Times. The Times updated its story that reported Amy had made a second call to reflect new information that clarified that the second call was made by the dispatcher, not Amy.

An anonymous source familiar with the case clarified that the dispatcher was following up on Amy’s first complaint, and during that call, Amy allegedly told the dispatcher that Christian “tried to assault her,” a criminal complaint said, according to the Times.

“The defendant twice reported that an African-American man was putting her in danger, first by stating that he was threatening her and her dog, and then in a second call indicating that he tried to assault her in the Ramble area of the park, Illuzzi said, according to the Times.

When police arrived, Amy told an officer that her reports were not true, and that Christian had not assaulted her, according to the complaint.

Amy was reportedly fired by her employer Franklin Templeton Investments following the incident. Her dog, who appeared to be pulled roughly around by the collar in the video, was voluntarily given back to the rescue shelter from which he was adopted.

Illuzzi told the court that the Manhattan district attorney’s office was exploring a resolution to the case that would require Amy to publicly take responsibility for her actions in court and attend a program where she would learn how harmful they were.

Christian did not support the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance’s decision to charge Amy. He said that the consequences and public backlash she had faced because of the wide circulation of the incident was already enough, and said in a July statement that “bringing her more misery just seems like piling on,” the Times reported. (RELATED: New York Woman Who Called Police On Black Man While Walking Dog In Viral Video Hit With Misdemeanor)

Vance filed charges including falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, a misdemeanor, for falsely reporting an assault, according to a District Attorney’s Office press release Wednesday.

“Our Office is committed to safety, justice, and anti-racism, and we will hold people who make false and racist 911 calls accountable,” the statement says.

Amy issued a public apology one day after the incident.

“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,” she said in the statement. “I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause.”

The case was adjourned until Nov. 17 to give Amy’s lawyer, Robert Barnes, and prosecutors time to work out the details of an agreement, according to the Times.

Months after the incident, Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law making it a crime to call 911 for the purpose of intimidating someone because of race, ethnicity, religion or gender. California lawmakers also passed a similar law, which would make it a hate crime to call 911 to harass someone based on their race.