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Woman Who Called 911 on Black Bird-Watcher Speaks Out

Amy Cooper says in new podcast her options were limited in May 2020 incident in Central Park
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2021 9:25 AM CDT
Updated Aug 7, 2021 5:00 PM CDT
Woman Who Called 911 on Black Bird-Watcher: I Had No Choice
This file image made from May 25, 2020, video shows Amy Cooper with her dog talking to Christian Cooper in Central Park in New York.   (Christian Cooper via AP, File)

(Newser) – Charges were dropped earlier this year against Amy Cooper, the white woman who was arrested after calling 911 on Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black bird-watcher she had a dispute with in Central Park in May 2020. At the time, she told dispatchers he was threatening her—except he wasn't. In the counseling program Amy Cooper had to complete to get her criminal case dismissed, her therapist reportedly noted that Cooper had learned "a lot" during their sessions, a "moving experience." What exactly Cooper learned is the question: She's now suing her ex-employer, an investment firm that fired her after her arrest, claiming the company discriminated against her due to her race and gender. And in a new interview with Honestly, the podcast launched in June by former New York Times writer Bari Weiss, Cooper—pejoratively referred to as the "Central Park Karen"—speaks publicly for the first time, claiming she had no choice but to call 911 on that May day.

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"I'm trying to figure out, you know, what does that mean?" Cooper said of her interaction with Christian Cooper, in which he offered her dog treats while holding his bike helmet, per the Daily Beast. "Is that a physical attack on me? Is that to my dog? Like, what is he about to do?" As for calling 911, she notes: "I don't know that as a woman alone in a park that I had another option." She also claims Christian Cooper's demeanor changed at one point during the incident, throwing her off. She says he had the "same very physical posture, and suddenly out of him comes this voice from [a] man who's been very dominant towards me. Suddenly, you know, almost this victimized voicing ... Like, almost like he's terrified of me." Amy Cooper says the whole thing has now made her "terrified to take my dog for a walk, because what if someone sees me go into a home and realizes it's where I live?" (Read more Central Park stories.)

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