Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.
A New York City woman has been placed on leave from work after a viral video shows her calling the police on a black man in Central Park who asked her to keep her dog on a leash.
In the video, which has more than 21 million views on Twitter, the woman later identified as Amy Cooper tells the man behind the camera to stop recording her, and threatens to call the police on him.
The man with the camera, identified as Christian Cooper, does not move any closer to her as Amy drags her yelping dog around by the collar and proceeds to call the police.
“There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog,” she tells the dispatcher, repeating the assertion in an increasingly frantic manner.
Finally, Amy puts the dog on a leash, and Christian stops recording, saying “thank you.”
The video of the incident was shared on the r/publicfreakout subreddit, where it got more than 85,000 upvotes. The comment thread was forced to be locked to stop people from doxxing the woman.
Franklin Templeton, the investment company that employs Amy Cooper, has placed her on leave following the incident.
Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue also said they are now back in custody of the animal in the video, which Amy adopted from the agency a few years ago. They said she “voluntarily surrendered” the dog, and that the cocker spaniel is “safe and in good health.”
Christian Cooper told NBC New York that he was in The Ramble area of Central Park as an avid bird watcher.
He said he asked Amy to put her dog on a leash, as is required in that area of the park. When she refused, he offered the dog a treat and started recording.
“The only way they can keep the dog from eating the treat is to put it on a leash,” he told NBC New York. “At some point, she decided I’m gonna play the race card, I guess.”
Christian said he didn’t stop recording because he refused to be intimidated.
“I’m not going to participate in my own dehumanization. I’m not going to feed into this,” he said.
Amy later apologized in a statement to NBC New York.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she said in a phone call. “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.”
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