Posted on August 5, 2021

White Woman in Viral Video Says She Had No Choice but to Call Police on Black Bird-Watcher

Wilson Wong, NBC News, August 4, 2021

The white woman who was recorded on video calling police to claim that a Black bird-watcher was threatening her in New York City’s Central Park last year said she felt she was backed into a corner.

In Tuesday’s episode of “Honestly,” a podcast by former New York Times writer Bari Weiss, the woman, Amy Cooper, said she had no other choice but to call 911 when the bird-watcher, Christian Cooper, offered her dog a treat after he asked her to keep the pooch on a leash.

“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?'” she told podcaster Kmele Foster. “And if I end up over there, am I going to get hit by this bike helmet?”

Tuesday’s interview was a departure from her initial remarks after video of the encounter on May 25, 2020, recorded by Christian Cooper, went viral and drew widespread outrage as an example of police being called on an African American who was not committing any crime. Amy Cooper said then that she overreacted and was sorry.


On the podcast, however, she said, “I don’t know that as a woman alone in a park that I had another option” but to call police.


After the incident went viral, Amy Cooper was fired by the investment management company Franklin Templeton and charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. Prosecutors dropped the case in February after she completed five “psychoeducation and therapy” sessions that helped her “appreciate that racial identities shape our lives” and that “we cannot use them to harm ourselves or others,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said.