A white woman who went viral last year after video showed her calling the police on a Black bird-watcher in New York’s Central Park now says she had no other choice.
“I don’t know that as a woman alone in a park that I had another option” but to call police, Cooper told host Kmele Foster in an episode of the “Honestly” podcast released Tuesday.
The May 2020 incident occurred after Cooper was caught on video telling Christian Cooper (no relation) that she would call the cops after he asked her to leash her dog in the section of the park known as the Ramble, where leashes are required. Christian Cooper was bird-watching at the time.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” Cooper said in the video before she called 911. Once on the phone, she falsely claimed she was being threatened.
“I’m in the Ramble and there is a man ― African American, he has a bicycle helmet ― he is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” Cooper can be heard saying.
The clip quickly went viral, with internet users referring to her as the “Central Park Karen.” Cooper was later fired from her job at investment firm Franklin Templeton.
In the podcast interview, Cooper continued to play victim.
“He’s holding these dog treats in one hand and a bike helmet in his other hand and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my God, is this guy going to lure my dog over and try to hit him with his bike helmet?’” Cooper said. “And if I end up over there, am I going to get hit by this bike helmet?”
There was nothing to suggest that Christian Cooper would have assaulted the woman, and Amy Cooper was subsequently charged in 2020 with filing a false police report. In February, the charge was dismissed after Cooper completed five sessions of an educational program that included instruction about racial biases. She is now suing her former employer for defamation along with race and gender discrimination.