Amy Cooper has issued a public apology after a viral video showed her — a white woman — threatening to call the police on a black man who asked her to put her dog on a leash in New York City’s Central Park, saying her “entire life” has been destroyed by the incident.
The video sparked a national outcry after going viral on Memorial Day. The footage showed Amy Cooper walking her dog in a part of Central Park known as the Ramble. She admitted in an interview with CNN that she did not have the dog on a leash, which is against the rules in that part of the park. She also confirmed she was stopped by a black man, named Christian Cooper, who asked her to leash the dog.
Christian Cooper — who is of no relation to Amy Cooper — then recorded part of the exchange that showed her growing angry and saying she was going to call the police and tell them he had been threatening her, which he reportedly had not been.
“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper was heard saying in the video. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
Christian Cooper said he is an avid bird watcher who traveled to a part of the park known for being home to hundreds of different species. He said unleashed dogs are a threat to these birds, trampling their natural habitat and scaring away many of the species that stay on the ground.
Police later arrived to find both the man and the dog owner had left the area, the CNN report noted.
As the video went viral on Monday, many identified Amy Cooper’s employer, the investment firm Franklin Templeton, and called on her to be fired. The company issued a statement on Tuesday saying it does not condone any racism from its employees and that Amy Cooper had been placed on administrative leave while the incident was under investigation.
She told CNN that her “entire life is being destroyed” after the incident and said she didn’t mean to harm anyone with her apparent warning that she was going to tell police the man was threatening her.
“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she said.
She went on to say she had been frightened by being alone in that part of Central Park.
“I think I was just scared,” Amy Cooper said. “When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening. It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.”