Christian Cooper, the man who was the subject of the Central Park ‘Karen’ police call is said to be uncooperative with Manhattan prosecutors and is not helping the District Attorney with the investigation.
On Monday, Amy Cooper, 41, who placed the original call to police after she felt threatened while walking her dog in Central Park in May, was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.
Mr Cooper, 57, says he believes that Amy Cooper (no relation), has suffered enough having been shamed in the media along with losing her job and having her reputation destroyed.
Christian Cooper, a keen birdwatcher, was verbally attacked by Amy Cooper after he asked her to control her dog. He says that he will not be participating in any prosecution in the case
Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan DA, announced charges on Monday against Amy Cooper, but Christian Cooper says the district attorney will have to prosecute without his input
‘On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,’ Cooper said to the New York Times. ‘That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.
‘If the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me,’ Cooper added.
After the backlash, Ms Cooper released an apology through a public relations firm saying she ‘reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions’.
‘He had every right to request that I leash my dog in an area where it was required,’ she said in a written statement.
‘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.’
Amy Cooper engaged in a confrontation with Christian Cooper in Central Park in May
Cooper called the police on Memorial Day after Christian Cooper asked her to put her dog on a leash, as per the Central Park rules. Cooper accused Christian of threatening her life
But Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, a professor of constitutional law at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice believed that Christian Copper still has a part to play in what follows.
‘If the police believed she was really being attacked, they could have come in with guns drawn and she would have been the only witness in this — outside of that video that may or may not have surfaced,’ Browne-Marshall said to The Times.
‘This isn’t just about Christian Cooper. The community has been harmed by the actions of Amy Cooper and, in order to rectify this, then the people of New York need to have their day in court, even if Christian Cooper is a reluctant witness.’
Ms Cooper’s 911 call was seen by many as a stark example of everyday racism and fueled outrage in the period leading up to the street protests sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd.
It also inspired New York state lawmakers in June to pass a law that makes it easier under civil rights law to sue an individual who calls a police officer on someone ‘without reason’ because of their background, including race and national origin.
The new law, which the governor also signed last month, holds an individual who makes such 911 calls liable ‘for injunctive relief, damages, or any other appropriate relief’ in a civil lawsuit.
Ms Cooper was charged under an existing false-report law that has been long on the books and does not reference race.
During the incident on May 25, Ms Cooper was asked by birdwatcher Christian Cooper to put her dog on a leash, as park guidelines dictate.
In a Facebook post, he claimed the dog was ‘tearing through the plantings’ in the Ramble area of the park, and told her she should go to another part of the park.
When she refused, he pulled out dog treats, causing her to scream at him to not come near her dog.
Amy Cooper then called the police on Christian.
‘Our office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for falsely reporting an incident in the third degree,’ said Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney on Monday.
‘We are strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable.’
Cooper was issued a desk appearance ticket and will be arraigned on October 14.
Signs in the Ramble request that the environment be protected for wildlife
If convicted, she could be given a conditional discharge or sentenced to community service or counseling rather than jail time.
Christian recorded the interaction on his phone, in video which then went viral.
‘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,’ she said hysterically to the 911 operator as she gripped her dog’s collar tightly.
‘I am being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately!’
When she hung up, and put her dog on a leash, Christian replied: ‘Thank you.’
The video then ends.
Christian, a Harvard graduate who works in communications, has long been a prominent birdwatcher in the city and is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society.
In the aftermath of the video Cooper surrendered her dog, Henry, to the cocker spaniel rescue group she had adopted him from two years before.
She has since been reunited with the dog.
She has however been fired from her job as a head of insurance portfolio management at Franklin Templeton.
Christian, a Harvard graduate who works in communications, has long been a prominent birdwatcher in the city and is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society
Cooper, pictured with Henry, has apologized for her behavior on May 25 in Central Park
Christian told The View that he accepts Cooper’s apology, but he believes the incident is part of a much deeper problem of racism in America that must be addressed.
‘I do accept her apology,’ Christian said.
‘I think it’s a first step. I think she’s gotta do some reflection on what happened because up until the moment when she made that statement it was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker, and then she took it to a very dark place.
‘I think she’s gotta sort of examine why and how that happened,’ he said.