A woman who called the police on a black man filming her in Central Park has been placed on administrative leave by her employer after video of the exchange went viral on Monday.
The incident occurred Monday in the Ramble, a wooded area of Central Park where dogs are required to be on leashes.
Christian Cooper, who is black, said he was bird-watching in the area when he saw Amy Cooper, who is white, with her dog. Christian Cooper wrote on Facebook that the dog was going “through the plantings.” He approached the woman and asked that she leash the animal, he said.
In the video, Amy Cooper refused and called 911, telling the operator that “there is an African American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog.” At one point, Cooper shouts to the operator, “Please send the cops immediately.”
The video has been viewed more than 20 million times on Twitter, shared by Christian Cooper’s sister Melody.
Watch the video: if you’re unable to view the video below follow this link.
The video quickly drew reactions online and Amy Cooper has since apologized. Her employer, asset management firm Franklin Templeton, placed her on administrative leave before she was fired Tuesday.
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 a statement, the New York Police Department said officers were called to the area just after 8 a.m. Monday. When they arrived, “police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute. There were no arrests or summonses issued; both parties went on their way.”
“I think I was just scared,” Amy Cooper told CNN. “When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening. It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.”
Christian Cooper told NBC New York that he filmed the incident because “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.”