Amy Cooper charged after calling police on a Black bird watcher

CENTRAL PARK (WABC) -- The Manhattan District Attorney's office announced charges Monday against Amy Cooper, the white dog walker who was caught on tape threatening to call police on a Black bird watcher in Central Park.

She is charged with filing a false police report.

Defense attorney Robert Barnes, who has previously represented Alex Jones and Wesley Snipes, is representing Amy Cooper.

"Once all the facts are known, Amy Cooper will be found not guilty of the single, misdemeanor charge filed in this case," Barnes said. "The rush to judgment by some in the public, in this cancel culture epidemic, will be proven as wrong as cancel culture itself. She lost her job, her home, and her public life. Now some demand she lose her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?"

Christian Cooper was birdwatching in late May when he asked Amy Cooper to put her dog on a leash because it is against the rules in the Ramble, a secluded section of Central Park popular with birdwatchers, for dogs to be off leash.

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Kemberly Richardson has more on the investigation into the Central Park confrontation that went viral.

In a Facebook post, he claimed the dog was "tearing through the plantings" 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.

He pulled out his phone and started recording Amy calling the police to report she was being threatened by "an African-American man."

The widely watched video posted on social media sparked accusations of racism and led to Amy getting fired from her job and surrendering her dog.

The group that took the dog did return it to Amy after an evaluation from a veterinarian and a coordinated effort with law enforcement.

Amy Cooper released an apology through a public relations service after the initial incident, 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 the 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."

Christian Cooper told "The View" he accepts Amy 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."

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The woman at the center of the Central Park dog incident caught on camera has been fired, her employer confirmed on Tuesday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to the charge against Amy Cooper and said it was deserved.

"Good. Her racist behavior could have had dire consequences for a Black man. Glad she'll face consequences of her own," he said on Twitter.

Eyewitness News has reached out to Christian Cooper after Monday's charges were announced. He declined to comment.

New York City's Commission on Human Rights also launched an investigation into the verbal dispute.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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