Christian Cooper Says Tearing Amy Cooper's Life Apart Won't Solve America's Racial Issues

Black bird watcher Christian Cooper said he is uncomfortable with the intense backlash against Amy Cooper, no relation, the white woman seen in a viral video calling the police on him in New York's Central Park and claiming to feel threatened.

Amy Cooper, who has since apologized, lost her job and handed her dog back to the rescue center after a video of the incident captured attention online. It was viewed tens of millions of times.

Speaking to the New York Daily News, Christian Cooper said he is "not sure how I feel" about Amy Cooper losing her job, adding that focusing on her glosses over the wider context in which the incident took place.

"I can't see how that addresses the underlying issues," he said. "I think it's important to move beyond this instance and this one individual.

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"Too much focus has been put on her when it really is about the underlying issues that have plagued this city and this country for centuries. Racial issues."

The 57-year-old writer and editor said he is "very upset" about the death threats Amy Cooper has received in the wake of the video going viral. "That's antithetical to the appropriate response," he said.

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"If you're upset that she put my life in danger by trying to bring the cops down on a black man, then how can you turn around and make a death threat? That makes no sense. It's downright awful."

Speaking to The New York Times, Cooper said he is "uncomfortable" with the "frenzy" that has surrounded Amy Cooper in recent days: "If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal."

Amy Cooper called 911 to claim that there is an African American man "recording me and threatening myself and my dog" after he asked her to leash her pet and she allegedly declined to do so, contravening the park's rules.

During the clip, she says she will call the police and "tell them there's an African American man threatening my life" after Christian Cooper refuses to stop recording her.

The dispute took place in an area of Central Park called The Ramble, where it is required to keep dogs leashed due to the wildlife and birds living there.

It was condemned as the latest occurrence of a white woman calling the police on a black person for innocuous reasons.

Amy Cooper's critics accused her of attempting to make Christian Cooper fear for his life by repeatedly telling police it was an African American threatening her, playing on the issue of unarmed black people shot and killed by law enforcement officers.

Central Park this morning: This woman's dog is tearing through the plantings in the Ramble.ME: Ma'am, dogs in the...

Posted by Christian Cooper on Monday, 25 May 2020

After the video went viral, Amy Cooper was fired from her job as head of insurance portfolio management at Franklin Templeton. "We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton," the company said in a statement.

She also voluntarily surrendered her dog to the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, where she had adopted it years ago following concerns that she was choking her pet with its leash while talking to police on the phone.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the incident as "racism, plain and simple."

He tweeted: "She called the police BECAUSE he was a Black man. Even though she was the one breaking the rules. She decided he was the criminal and we know why. This kind of hatred has no place in our city."

In a statement, Amy Cooper apologized and admitted that she "reacted emotionally and made false assumptions" about Christian Cooper when, in fact, she was in the wrong for not having her dog on a leash.

"When Chris began offering treats to my dog and confronted me in an area where there was no one else nearby and said, 'You're not going to like what I'm going to do next,' I assumed we were being threatened when all he had intended to do was record our encounter on his phone," she said.

"I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris.

"I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology."

park
The Plaza Hotel and other midtown buildings are seen in the background as leaves begin to change around The Pond, one of Central Park's seven bodies of water, in Central Park in New York on October 30, 2017. Black bird watcher Christian Cooper has condemned the backlash against the white woman seen in a viral video calling the police on him. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty
Christian Cooper Says Tearing Amy Cooper's Life Apart Won't Solve America's Racial Issues | U.S.