NEW YORK: A white woman who called the police on a bird watcher over a dispute about her dog in New York’s Central Park is to be prosecuted, officials said Monday.
Amy Cooper faces prosecution for falsely reporting an incident, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said in a statement.
The misdemeanour charge can carry a jail sentence of up to a year. Cooper has been ordered to appear for an arraignment on Oct 14.
A video of the May 25 altercation sparked anger about African Americans being falsely reported to cops, and made global headlines.
It was posted online the same day that unarmed black man George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, launching weeks of angry protests.
Christian Cooper filmed the woman as she approached him after he requested she put her dog on a leash in a wooded area of the park popular with bird watchers.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” she tells Cooper, after dialling 911 and while struggling to control her dog.
“There is an African-American man, I’m in Central Park. He’s recording me and threatening me and threatening my dog,” she then tells the operator.
The exchange prompted outrage on social media, with users calling the woman a “Karen”, a term popular online to describe an entitled white woman.
She was accused of putting Cooper’s life in danger by trying to manipulate a police system that is regularly accused of brutality against members of the black community.
Cooper was quickly fired from her job at Franklin Templeton, with the investment management company saying it did not tolerate “racism of any kind”.
The video, posted on Twitter, has been watched almost 45 million times.