After being asked to leash her dog, which is required at all times at Central Park, a white woman called the NYPD and accused a black man of threatening her life.
A video captured of the incident has gone viral after being posted to Twitter by the man’s sister.
The woman, Amy Cooper, is shown on video asking the man, Christian Cooper, to stop recording her, or she was going to call the police and tell them “there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
When Christian refused to stop recording the incident, Amy called dispatch.
“There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog,” she said on the phone call.
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
NBC New York reports Christian says he continued recording because he wasn’t going to be intimidated.
“We live in an age of Ahmaud Arbery where black men are gunned down because of assumptions people make about black men, black people, and I’m just not going to participate in that,” Christian said.
According to the report, Christian tells NBC New York he only asked Amy to put her dog on the leash in the area where it’s required to have your dog on a leash at all times.
“If the habitat is destroyed we won’t be able to go there to see the birds, to enjoy the plantings,” Christian who is an avid bird watcher explained to NBC New York.
According to the report, Christian says he offered the dog a treat and started recording the incident after Amy refused to leash her dog.
“The only way they can keep the dog from eating the treat is to put it on a leash,” Christian said. “At some point, she decided I’m gonna play the race card, I guess.”
According to NBC New York, Christian left by the time officers arrived and NYPD said no complaints or arrests were made after police determined the incident was a “verbal dispute.”
As of Tuesday morning, the video has more than 25 million views on Twitter.
Amy spoke exclusively to NBC New York admitting that she overreacted but claims Christian was screaming, and explaining she felt threatened because she didn’t know what was in the treats offered to her dog.
Amy offered the following apology, reported by NBC New York:
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family. It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended…everyone who thinks of me in a lower light and I understand why they do. When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury."
As a result of the incident, Amy was terminated by her employer Franklin Templeton, an investment management company.
The company released the following statement:
“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”
Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.— Franklin Templeton (@FTI_US) May 26, 2020
In addition to criticism of racism, Amy also received criticism of animal cruelty because she appeared to be choking her dog for nearly a minute after she grabbed it by the collar.
NBC New York reports Amy also received criticism of animal cruelty after the video shows her appearing to choke her dog for nearly a minute after grabbing it by the collar.
Amy has “voluntarily surrendered” her dog to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue while the incident is being addressed, according to NBC New York.