The now-viral video of a white woman who called the cops on a black man in Central Park is “disturbing” — but “we’ve got bigger fish to fry” than pursuing charges against her, NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said Tuesday morning.
The video shows the woman, identified in reports as Amy Cooper, on the phone telling police that “there is an African American man. He is recording me and threatening my dog.”
The man had asked the woman to leash her dog.
In an interview with PIX11, Tucker called it “an unfortunate incident, and frankly, it’s hard to understand what she did.”
“The fact she invoked race is disturbing,” Tucker said. “But also, listen, she’s got a dog. The signs say dogs must be leashed. She wasn’t in compliance, so in effect, she was the problem, not the gentleman who asked her to put the dog on the leash. It was a simple thing.”
But the NYPD isn’t looking to bring charges against Cooper, he said.
“We’re not going to pursue that,” Tucker said. “We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I think, and the DA would never prosecute that. It’s not even clear that it would be actionable in terms of any violation.”
The man who could be heard in the video, Christian Cooper, said he asked Amy to put the dog on a leash, and when she didn’t, he offered the pooch a treat.
“The only way they can keep the dog from eating the treat is to put it on a leash,” he told NBC Monday. “At some point, she decided, ‘I’m gonna play the race card,’ I guess.”
Amy told the network she felt threatened because she didn’t know what the dog treats were made of.
Amy, who had been accused of animal cruelty for grabbing and dragging the struggling dog by a neck harness, had allegedly returned her adopted pet to a local animal shelter.
The NYPD said it isn’t pursuing animal cruelty charges against Amy.
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy