A New York woman has gone viral for calling the cops on a black man in the Ramble area of Central Park.
Monday on Twitter, Melody Cooper posted a video shot by her brother Christian in which he asks a woman, later identified as Amy Cooper (no relation), to leash her dog per park regulations.
In the clip, which has been viewed over 28.7 million times, Amy swiftly walks up to Christian and demands that he stop filming her. She then calls the police, alleging that Christian threatened her and her dog.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” Amy says to Christian while dialing.
“Please send the cops immediately!” Amy later exclaimed while on the phone with officials.
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
Christian also posted the footage on his Facebook page, and explained that prior to his recording, he asked Amy to leash her dog after the animal was “tearing through the plantings in the Ramble.” After she reportedly refused, Christian says he pulled out a dog treat, which reportedly aggravated Amy.
“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!!!!!” Christian said of the moment that led to him filming.
Christian later explained to NBC New York that he carries dog treats because it forces owners to leash their dogs to prevent the animals from snacking.
“The only way they can keep the dog from eating the treat is to put it on a leash,” Christian told the outlet. “At some point, [Amy] decided, ‘I’m gonna play the race card,’ I guess.”
Per The New York Times, the NYPD said they responded to a report of an assault at about 8:10 a.m.
“Upon arrival, police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute,” authorities said in a statement. “There were no arrests or summonses issued; both parties went on their way.”
After the shocking video was published, Amy Cooper’s name began trending on Twitter after she was identified by a person who claimed to have been her dog walker.
While speaking to NBC New York on Monday, Amy issued an apology for her actions, but claims she felt threatened because she didn’t know what was in the treat that Christian attempted to give her dog.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” Amy 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,” she added.
“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 continued.
In addition to her incident with Christian, Amy was accused of animal cruelty after she appeared to choke her dog for nearly a minute after grabbing the animal by its collar.
Monday on Facebook, shelter Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue Inc. wrote that Amy adopted the dog “a few years ago,” but “voluntarily surrendered the dog” that evening after the incident.
“The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health,” the rescue confirmed.
On Tuesday, Amy’s employer, Franklin Templeton, announced her termination after they previously put her on administrative leave.
“We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the investment management company said on Twitter.
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