New York Lawmakers Propose Hate Crime Legislation in Response to Viral ‘Central Park Karen’ Video

Illustration for article titled New York Lawmakers Propose Hate Crime Legislation in Response to Viral ‘Central Park Karen’ Video
Screenshot: Durtty Daily (YouTube)

Amy Cooper made herself famous for all the wrong reasons when she called the police to report “an African-American man threatening my life.” Video recorded by Christian Cooper, an African-American man (of no relation), shows he was actually only trying to get her to follow the rules and put a leash on her dog. Now, Central Park Karen—who has been fired from her job and made to return her dog to the shelter she adopted it from—has inspired Democratic lawmakers in New York to introduce legislation that, if enacted, would do what we’ve all been asking for: to hold white people accountable for calling the police on black people and making false claims.

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It’s widely believed that Amy is a racist who attempted to weaponize the police against a black man when she called them on Cooper, who she repeatedly asserted was threatening her and her dog—which the video shows was a lie.

According to Pix 11, New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Sen. Brian Benjamin (D-Manhattan) proposed legislation on Tuesday that would criminalize falsely reporting an incident to police and make the offense eligible for hate crime status.

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“In the past year, we have seen many instances throughout both New York State and the country of people calling 911 on black people who are going about their everyday lives, only to be interrupted by someone calling the police for reasons that range from caution, to suspicious inkling to all out hatred,” Ortiz wrote in a statement advocating for the bill.

Sen. Benjamin also released a statement that addressed Amy Cooper’s actions directly.

“It is frightening that this incident happened just blocks from where many of my constituents live and that this woman was so willing to fabricate a story despite being filmed,” he said. “I worry that if she had not been filmed, this woman may have been given the benefit of the doubt, and that this man could have faced serious, perhaps life-threatening consequences if the police had arrived.”

Central Park Karen is only the latest in a long line of Karens (and Chads, for that matter) who have been caught on camera calling the police on black people over bullshit. Every time a new story like this pops up, black people warn that it could get us killed and call for laws that ensure these actions will have consequences. Hopefully, the bill proposed by Benjamin and Ortiz will be considered and passed, and all of the Amy Coopers of the world will be forced to think twice before trying to use the cops (and their tears) as weapons against black citizens who have done nothing wrong.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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And now Mr. Cooper is coming to her defense.  I just can’t...