NYC woman fired after calling police on black man after argument over unleashed dog

NEW YORK — A woman apologized for calling the police on a black man Monday after the two argued about her unleashed dog in New York City’s Central Park. The incident resulted in her being fired from her job Tuesday.

Part of the confrontation between Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper -- who are not related -- was recorded on Christian Cooper's cellphone in a wooded area of Central Park known as the Ramble, CNN reported. He posted the video on Facebook. His sister, Melody Cooper, also posted the encounter on Twitter.

"I'm not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way," Amy Cooper, who is white. told CNN. She added that she wanted to "publicly apologize to everyone."

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

The Ramble is a wildlife habitat where dogs tend to disturb birds, which is why Christian Cooper commented about the unleashed dog to Amy Cooper, WABC reported. Dogs are supposed to be leashed in that area of Central Park, according to the park's website.

“She was actually standing right next to the sign that says dogs in the Ramble have to be leashed at all times,” Christian Cooper told the television station.

As Christian Cooper began recording, Amy Cooper asked him to stop and approached the man, WPIX reported.

“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper is heard in the video. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”

"My thinking was, I can sort of capitulate to this racial intimidation, or I could just do what I'm doing and continue recording," Christian Cooper told WABC.

As Christian Cooper continued to record the exchange, Amy Cooper is shown making a telephone call.

“There is an African American man. I am in Central Park,” she said as she struggles to control the dog. "He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog. ... I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble. Please send the cops immediately.”

Police responded to the park after the 8:10 a.m. call, officials told WPIX.

“Upon arrival, police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute,” an NYPD spokesperson told the television station. “There were no arrests or summonses issued and both parties went on their way.”

Amy Cooper surrendered the dog to the shelter where he had been adopted from while the dispute is being investigated, according to  Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc.

“The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health,” the post stated.

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, May 25, 2020

"I think I was just scared," Amy Cooper told CNN, adding that her "entire life is being destroyed right now."

“When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening," she told the network. "It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.”

Amy Cooper was originally placed on administrative leave by her employer, investment company Franklin Templeton. However, the company announced Tuesday afternoon that she had been terminated, "effectively immediately."

“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,” the company’s statement read.

New York City Councilman Mark Levine called the incident “disgusting.”

"Filling a false police report is a crime," he tweeted. "Being racist is reprehensible. There needs to be accountability for this."

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