Amy Cooper, the so-called “Karen” of Central Park, has been charged with a misdemeanor over a viral incident in which she called the New York Police Department (NYPD) on Black birdwatcher Christian Cooper (no relation) in late May.
“Today, our Office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement on Monday. “Our office will provide the public with additional information as the case proceeds. At this time I would like to encourage anyone who has been the target of false reporting to contact our Office. We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.”
The incident in Central Park, Cooper’s former employer suggested, was racist.
Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor in New York State.
Per the statute, in relevant part:
A person is guilty of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree when, knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated to be false or baseless, he or she:
1. Initiates or circulates a false report or warning of an alleged occurrence or impending occurrence of a crime, catastrophe or emergency under circumstances in which it is not unlikely that public alarm or inconvenience will result; or
2. Reports, by word or action, to an official or quasi-official agency or organization having the function of dealing with emergencies involving danger to life or property, an alleged occurrence or impending occurrence of a catastrophe or emergency which did not in fact occur or does not in fact exist; or
3. Gratuitously reports to a law enforcement officer or agency (a) the alleged occurrence of an offense or incident which did not in fact occur; or (b) an allegedly impending occurrence of an offense or incident which in fact is not about to occur; or (c) false information relating to an actual offense or incident or to the alleged implication of some person therein…
Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail or three years probation–and/or a $1,000 fine.
The charge stems from an incident during which Amy Cooper called the NYPD on Christian Cooper over an argument about dog-leashing in the area of Central Park called “The Ramble.” Dogs are supposed to be leashed at all times and Amy Cooper had allowed her dog to romp about off-leash. Christian Cooper complained and then attempted to feed the dog some treats.
In a video eventually seen by millions, Amy Cooper can be heard saying she’s going to call the police and “tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
Law&Crime’s Elura Nanos predicted the charges at the time:
Amy Cooper’s near-hysterical call to police that an African American man was threatening her life, and threatening her dog appears to fit squarely within the confines of the false reporting statute. Cooper has spoken to several news outlets and apologized for her behavior; those apologies, particularly when taken together with the video, tend to confirm that her reporting of the incident was false.
Cooper was issued a desk appearance ticket on Monday and will be arraigned on October 14, 2020. Charging documents in the case have yet to be filed, but the DA’s office referred to Cooper as a defendant.
[image via screengrab/Christian Cooper/Facebook]
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