Amy Cooper Made 2nd 911 Call to Falsely Accuse Black Bird-Watcher – The New York Times

Amy Cooper, the white woman who called the police on a Black bird-watcher in Central Park, made a second, previously unreported call to 911 in which she falsely claimed that the man “tried to assault her,” a prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Ms. Cooper, who appeared in court remotely to answer misdemeanor charges that she had filed a false report, was negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors that would allow her to avoid jail.

Joan Illuzzi, a senior prosecutor, said that Ms. Cooper in her two 911 calls in May had used the police in a way that was “both racially offensive and designed to intimidate” and her actions were “something that can’t be ignored.”

Still, Ms. Illuzzi told the court that the Manhattan district attorney’s office was exploring a resolution to the case that would require Ms. Cooper to publicly take responsibility for her actions in court and attend a program to educate her on how harmful they were.

“We hope this process will enlighten, heal and prevent similar harm to our community in the future,” Ms. Illuzzi said.

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

The news of the second call was the latest development in the Memorial Day weekend encounter that had resonated across the country and reignited discussions about the potential danger of false accusations made to the police about Black people.

Ms. Cooper was filmed calling 911 from an isolated area in Central Park after a Black man asked her to leash her dog, as the rules required. During the call, she said multiple times that an “African-American man” was threatening her, emphasizing his race to the operator as she raised her voice frantically.

Video of the encounter, shot by the man, Christian Cooper, on his phone, has been viewed more than 44 million times. Its timing, one day before protests erupted nationwide over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, only furthered its role in sparking outrage over what many viewed as an example of everyday racism.

In July, the Manhattan district attorney charged Ms. Cooper with filing a false report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. The criminal charge was among the first that a white person in the United States has faced for wrongfully making a complaint to the police about a Black person.

“We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable,” Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said in July.

Her lawyer, Mr. Barnes, said at the time that she would be found not guilty and criticized what he called a “cancel culture epidemic.”

“How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?” he asked.

Mr. Vance’s decision to charge Ms. Cooper drew mixed reactions from Black community leaders and proponents of overhauling the criminal justice system. He also did not have the support of Mr. Cooper, who has long been a prominent birder in the city and sits on the board of the New York City Audubon Society.

As the episode gained widespread attention among state lawmakers and activists across the country, Ms. Cooper, who had been a head of insurance portfolio management at Franklin Templeton, lost her job and was publicly shamed. She also was forced to surrender her dog temporarily to the rescue group from which she had adopted him.

At the time, Mr. Cooper, a Harvard graduate who works in communications, said that the consequences and public backlash she had faced were already enough. He did not cooperate with the prosecution’s investigation and said in a statement in July that “bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.”

Weeks after the confrontation, New York State lawmakers also approved legislation entitling people to “a private right of action” if they believe someone called the police on them because of their race, gender, nationality or any other protected class. The move was a direct response to the Central Park run-in and other false reports to police about Black people.

The clash between Mr. Cooper and Ms. Cooper, who are not related, began as he biked to search for birds in a semi-wild section of the park known as the Ramble, where dogs must be leashed. He encountered Ms. Cooper, walking with an unleashed dog, and said in a Facebook post that she refused to put a leash on the dog when asked.

He wrote that he offered the dog treats in an effort to persuade Ms. Cooper to follow the area’s rules. Then, video captures her calling 911 and telling an operator, “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.”

One day after the incident, Ms. Cooper issued a public apology.

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

Sarah Maslin Nir and Jan Ransom contributed reporting.