White woman investigated after lying to police that an innocent Black man was threatening her. He just so happens to be a queer comic hero
A Black man threatened by white woman Amy Cooper in Central Park happens to be a former Marvel Comics editor, who explored the issue of discrimination by introducing the first gay male character in a Star Trek comic.
Christian Cooper went viral on May 25 after birdwatching in the Ramble, a protected nature reserve in New York’s Central Park.
He encountered a white woman who was walking her dog without a leash, which is against the law in that part of the park. When he asked her to use a leash she responded by declaring she was going to call the police to tell them that “an African-American man is threatening my life”.
Cooper recorded the woman as she called 911 and hysterically described a fictitious attack by the Black man standing peacefully in front of her. The footage has now been shared millions of times across social media.
The woman was promptly identified as Amy Cooper, an investment banker who has now been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Her dog has also been returned to the rescue centre where she adopted him.
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm
— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
Further details have emerged about Cooper, too: an avid birdwatcher and a writer based in New York City, he wrote a number of stories for Marvel Comics Presents, often featuring Ghost Rider and Vengeance.
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During his time with Marvel he tackled the subject of discrimination through the character of Yoshi Mishima, the first gay male character in a Star Trek comic and the first ever homosexual human in the Star Trek universe.
Yoshi is a cadet in Starfleet Academy, a close friend of cadet Matt Decker who is portrayed as a smart, brave, capable leader, a skilled officer and an effective fighter.
Despite all this his sexuality becomes an issue for one alien woman, Halakith, who turns against him when she learns he has a boyfriend. She tells him that homosexuality is offensive in her culture and refuses even to share a room with him.
Yoshi complains of her prejudice and demands that Halakith shouldn’t be admitted to Starfleet Academy, but his request is denied. Halakith is not only admitted to the Academy, but is assigned to Yoshi’s squad.
Unfortunately, that was Yoshi’s final appearance in the series as it was cancelled two issues later.
While Cooper hasn’t commented further on the incident in Central Park, it seems possible his earlier writing was influenced by previous experiences of racial discrimination that are sadly all too common for Black men in America.
The woman who threatened him has now “humbly and fully” apologised for her actions, and says she has only now “come to realise” that many people do not have the luxury of police protection.