White Woman Who Called Cops on Black Man, Placed on Leave at Work, Issues Apology

UPDATE: May 26, 3:05 p.m. EST — The woman who called police on a black man filming her in Central Park was fired from her job at Franklin Templeton, the company confirmed on Tuesday. Amy Cooper was initially placed on administrative leave.

Original story:

A white woman who called the police on a black man filming her in Central Park appears to have been placed on administrative leave by her employer after video of the exchange went viral on Monday.

The video was first posted posted to Facebook by Christian Cooper who says he encountered the woman at around 8 a.m. walking her dog in the Ramble, a protected nature reserve located within Central Park. All dogs must be leashed between 9 a.m and 9 p.m. in other parts of Central Park, but must be leashed at all times in the Ramble.

Cooper says he asked the woman to put her dog on a leash. He says she replied by saying that the dog runs were closed, and her dog needs the exercise. Cooper says he was about to throw a treat to the dog, when she replied "Don't you touch my dog," and then he started recording video with his iPhone.

Central Park this morning: This woman's dog is tearing through the plantings in the Ramble.ME: Ma'am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there. HER: The dog runs are closed. He needs his exercise. ME: All you have to do is take him to the other side of the drive, outside the Ramble, and you can let him run off leash all you want. HER: It's too dangerous. ME: Look, if you're going to do what you want, I'm going to do what I want, but you're not going to like it. HER: What's that? ME (to the dog): Come here, puppy! HER: He won't come to you. ME: We'll see about that...I pull out the dog treats I carry for just for such intransigence. I didn't even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog.HER: DON'T YOU TOUCH MY DOG!!!!!That's when I started video recording with my iPhone, and when her inner Karen fully emerged and took a dark turn...

Posted by Christian Cooper on Monday, May 25, 2020

"I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life," she says in the video. The man replies, "Please tell them whatever you like." She then walks a few feet away and makes a call.

"I'm sorry, I'm in the Ramble, and there's an man, African American, with a bicycle helmet. He is recording me, and threatening me and my dog," she says, presumably to 911. She repeats herself, and then says, much louder, "I'm sorry I can't hear you. I'm being threatened by a man in The Ramble. Please send the cops immediately."

In the video, the woman holds her dog in the air by the collar, causing it to yip in distress.

The video quickly went viral on Facebook and on Twitter, when the video was shared by Cooper's sister Melody. The woman was later identified as Amy Cooper, VP of Investment Solutions at Franklin Templeton.

The Ramble
The Ramble Stone Arch in Central Park. It was in the Ramble where the incident shown in the viral video took place. Alexandre Tziripouloff/Getty

After the video went viral, investment firm Franklin Templeton shared a statement on Twitter, saying, "We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind. While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave."

In addition, the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. also posted a comment appearing to refer to the subject of the video on Facebook. Abandoned Angels said that the woman voluntarily surrendered the dog.

"The dog is now in our rescue's care and he is safe and in good health. We will not be responding to any further inquiries about the situation, either publicly or privately," Abandoned Angels wrote.

Thank you to the concerned public for reaching out to us about a video involving a dog that was adopted from our rescue...

Posted by Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. on Monday, 25 May 2020

Monday night, Amy Cooper spoke to NBC New York, and apologized.

"I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family," Amy Cooper told the station via phone. "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," she added.

Christian Cooper is a graduate of Harvard and is currently the senior biomedical editor at Health Science Communications. He previously worked as an editor at Marvel Comics, where he introduced the first gay male character in a Star Trek comic, Yoshi Mishima. He is an avid birdwatcher and was president of the Harvard Ornithological Club in the 1980s, according to Wikipedia.

Newsweek reached out to Christian Cooper for additional comment. This article will be updated with any response.

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