Amy Cooper, the white woman who called police to a black bird watcher in Central Park, made a second, previously reported call to 911, in which she falsely claimed the man “attempted to attack her,” prosecutors said Wednesday.
“The accused twice reported that an African-American man put her in danger, first stating that he was threatening her and her dog, and then making a second phone call indicating that he had tried to attack her in the Ramble area of the park,” he said. Joan Illuzzi, a senior prosecutor, said.
Ms Cooper, who appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court remotely to respond to ill-treatment for making a false report, is negotiating a possible objection agreement with prosecutors that would allow her to avoid jail, the prosecutor said.
Ms Illuzzi said Ms Cooper had used the police in a way “so racially offensive and designed to intimidate” that her actions were “something that cannot be ignored”.
However, Ms Illuzzi told the court that the Manhattan Attorney’s Office was investigating a settlement that would require Ms Cooper to publicly take responsibility for her actions in court and attend a program to educate her on how much they were harmful.
“We hope this process will enlighten, heal and prevent similar damage to our community in the future,” said Ms. Illuzzi.
The case was adjourned until November 17 to give Ms. Cooper’s lawyer, Robert Barnes, and prosecutors time to work out the details of a deal.
The news of the second invitation was the latest development of the Memorial Day weekend meeting that had resonated across the country and resumed discussions about the possible danger of false accusations to the police about blacks.
Ms. Cooper was filmed calling 911 from a secluded area in Central Park after a Black man asked her to pet her dog as required by the rules. During the first call, she said several times that an “African-American man” was threatening her, emphasizing his race to the pilot as he raised her voice in agony.
Video of the meeting, shot by the man, Christian Cooper, on his phone, has been viewed more than 44 million times. His timeline, a day before the nationwide protests over the assassination of George Floyd in Minneapolis, only deepened his role in provoking anger over what many saw as an example of everyday racism. (Ms Cooper has nothing to do with Mr Cooper.)
But in a second call to 911, which did not appear in the video of the confrontation, Ms Cooper told a sender that Mr Cooper had put her in danger and claimed that he had tried to attack her, according to a criminal complaint lodged by the the prosecutor’s office.
When police arrived, Ms Cooper told an officer that her reports were untrue and that Mr Cooper had not touched or attacked her, the complaint said.
In July, the Manhattan Attorney accused Ms Cooper of making a false report, an offense punishable by up to one year in prison. The criminal charge, which has not changed despite the details of Ms. 911’s second call, was among the first to face a white person in the United States for misrepresenting police to a black man.
“We will accuse people of making false and racist 911 counts,” Manhattan Attorney General Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement Wednesday. “Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in the police response to Ms.’s prank.”
Her lawyer, Mr Barnes, said in July that he would be found guilty and criticized what he called a “cancellation of a cultural epidemic”.
“How many lives are we going to ruin from misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?” asked. Mr Barnes did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Mr Vance’s decision to indict Ms Cooper provoked mixed reactions from Black community leaders and supporters of a review of the criminal justice system. He also did not have the support of Mr. Cooper, who has long been a prominent fermenter in the city and sits on the board of the New York Audubon Society.
As the incident gained widespread attention among government lawmakers and activists across the country, Ms. Cooper, who headed the insurance portfolio at Franklin Templeton, lost her job and was publicly shamed. She also handed over her dog temporarily to the rescue team from which she had adopted him.
At the time, Mr. Cooper, a Harvard communications graduate, said the consequences and the public backlash were already many. He did not cooperate with the prosecution investigation and said in a statement in July that “it brings more misery it looks like it is accumulating”.
In an interview Wednesday, Cooper declined to answer specific questions about the second 911 call or about Ms. Ms’s potential deal. For him, the meeting in Central Park is not about Amy Cooper, but about a bigger social problem, he said.
“My answer is very simple: we have to make sure they are not distracting,” Cooper said. “We have a very important goal – and we need to stay focused on that – which is policing reform, the systemic change in structural racism in our society.”
Weeks after the controversy, New York lawmakers passed legislation give people a “private right to act” if they believe someone is calling them to the police because of their race, gender, nationality or any other protected class. The move was a direct response to the Central Park subject and other false police reports about blacks.
The collision between Mr. Cooper and Ms. Cooper began as he cycled to look for birds in a semi-wild part of the park known as the Ramble, where dogs must be tethered. He met Mrs. Cooper, walking with a loose dog and he said in a Facebook post that he 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 rules of the area. The video then records him calling 911 and telling a pilot: “I’m at Ramble, there’s an African-American man. He has a bicycle helmet and he records me and threatens me and my dog. “
One day after the incident, Mrs. Cooper issued a public apology.
“I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who acted inappropriately without having my dog on a leash,” Ms Cooper said. “I am well aware of the pain caused by misunderstandings and unconscious statements about race.”
Sarah Maslin Nir and Jan Ransom contributed to the report.