Birdwatcher says woman who called police on him should not face charges
© Christian Cooper

Christian Cooper, a Black birdwatcher whose encounter with a white woman who called the police on him during a confrontation in Central Park went viral earlier this year, said he disagrees with the decision to charge her with filing a false police report.

The woman, Amy Cooper, can be heard saying over the phone that an “African American man” is threatening her after he asked her to leash her dog, leading to an argument between the two.

Amy Cooper lost her job shortly after the incident went viral, and protests over the deaths of unarmed Black people such as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor rocked the country before Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced the charges against her Monday.

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“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price. That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on,” Christian Cooper, who also expressed uneasiness at Amy Cooper’s earlier public shaming, said in a statement, according to The New York Times

Christian Cooper added that he could not prevent Vance from pursuing the charges but that he did not intend to cooperate with the prosecution.

“[I]f the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me,” he said.

His attitude reflects that of some others in the Black community who have argued that although the incident demonstrates both racial prejudice on Amy Cooper’s part and an unspoken implication that violence would result from calling the police on a Black man, seeking a solution within the same system will not solve the problem.

“We all believe that the racist NYPD would have potentially killed Christian Cooper had they shown up in time,” Josie Duffy Rice, president of the nonprofit website The Appeal, tweeted. “And yet we still look to them for justice. I don’t trust that system. Ever. Why do we believe this racist, violent system can be the solution to racism and violence?”