News (USA)

Gay birdwatcher won’t participate in prosecution of “Central Park Karen”

Amy Cooper, a white woman in a facemask, stands in a park, holding a cell phone in one hand and her dog in another.
Amy Cooper and her dog Photo: Screenshot/Twitter

While prosecutors have announced they plan to charge Amy Cooper, dubbed “Central Park Karen,” for filing a false police report, they won’t have the support of victim Christian Cooper.

Christian Cooper, a gay Black birdwatcher, asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog in New York City’s Central Park this past May. The woman then unleashed a racist verbal tirade and called the police to claim he was “threatening” her. The two are not related.

Related: Woman filmed calling Black Lives Matter protestor a “gay homosexual piece of crap”

Video footage posted online by Christian Cooper’s sister showed the confrontation. She recorded Amy Cooper’s insults and declaration that she was about to call and lie to the police, effectively putting his life in danger. Her fake call was caught on video.

Amy Cooper lost her job after the video went viral and she gave up her dog after she faced criticism for how she held him by his collar. She quickly became a symbol of how white people use the police to oppress Black people and the state of New York recently passed legislation that would allow people to sue if someone falsely calls the authorities because of their race, gender, nationality, or other protected classes.

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

Christian Cooper, however, said he “had zero involvement” in the case against her.

“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” he said in a statement. “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.”

Christian Cooper noted that there was a larger issue at play in the prosecution and that he wouldn’t stand in the way.

“So if the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me.”

If convicted, Amy Cooper would likely face community service.

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