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A white woman has been fired from her job and denies accusations of racism. Christian Cooper recorded Amy Cooper in New York City’s Central Park, calling police to report that she was being threatened by “an African-American man.” (May 27)

AP Domestic

Amy Cooper, the white woman who called 911 on a Black man who asked that she leash her dog in Central Park, is facing a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report, Manhattan’s district attorney announced Monday.

The incident went viral after a video of Cooper emerged showing the 41-year-old woman frantically calling police when Christian Cooper, a Black man who was bird-watching, told her to leash her dog in the area of the park where leashes are required.

“Today our Office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree,” Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said in a statement.

More on NYC incident: White woman fired after calling police on Black man who asked her to leash her dog

Charging documents were not immediately available. Amy Cooper, who lost her job after the video garnered mass media attention, is scheduled to appear in court in October. 

The charge is a class A misdemeanor, which can carry up to a year in prison, according to New York law.

Amy Cooper falsely said that Christian Cooper was “threatening” her and her dog.

In the video, Amy Cooper refused to leash her dog and called 911, telling the operator that “there is an African American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog.” At one point, Cooper shouts to the operator, “Please send the cops immediately.”

Christian Cooper said he often experiences dog owners who do not leash their pets so he pulled out dog treats that he carries in an attempt to get Amy Cooper to restrain the animal. He told CNN that he carries them because he knows dog owners often don’t want a stranger to feed their dogs so they immediately restrain it.

The incident was one of multiple viral examples in recent years of a white person calling the police on a Black person who was not threatening them nor breaking any law.

Christian Cooper told NBC New York that he filmed the incident 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.”

In Monday’s statement, Vance also encouraged “anyone who has been the target of false reporting” to contact the district attorney’s office. 

The New York Police Department said officers responded to the Ramble, a wooded area of Central Park, around 8 a.m. on May 25. No arrests were made. 

The video quickly drew reactions online and Amy Cooper apologized, saying in a statement she “reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions.”

Her employer, asset management firm Franklin Templeton, swiftly fired her the next day.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the video exemplified hatred that has “no place in our city.”

Christian Cooper, though, showed empathy for the stranger with whom he shares a last name.

“It’s a little bit of a frenzy, and I am uncomfortable with that,” he told the New York Times in May. “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.”

Contributing: The Associated Press

Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

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