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Woman fired after calling police on man who asked her to leash her dog

A viral video of a verbal dispute between a white woman walking her dog off a leash and a black man bird watching in Central Park sparked accusations of racism.
Credit: Facebook: Christian Cooper

NEW YORK — An investment firm has fired the white woman seen in a viral video calling the cops on a black man who asked her to leash her dog in New York City's Central Park.

"I'm going to tell them that there is an African-American man threatening my life," the woman, who was later identified as Amy Cooper, said in the video just before calling the police.

The widely watched video — posted on Facebook by birdwatcher Christian Cooper and on Twitter by his sister — has sparked accusations of racism. 

CNN and CBS News reported Amy Cooper was walking her dog Monday morning while Christian Cooper was bird watching in a wooded area of Central Park called Ramble.

Dogs are supposed to be leashed at all times in that area, according to the park's website.

Christian Cooper explained in his Facebook post that he had asked the woman to put her dog on its leash. When she refused to, he pulled out dog treats, causing her to scream at him to not come near her dog. 

In the video, Amy Cooper can be heard warning him she would call police unless he stopped recording. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life," Amy Cooper is heard saying as she pulls down her face mask and struggles to control her dog.

“Please call the cops,” Christian Cooper replies.

“There’s an African American man, I’m in Central Park, he is recording me and threatening myself and my dog. … Please send the cops immediately!” she says during the call before he stops recording.

Police say by the time they responded, they were both gone.

Amy Cooper was quickly identified on social media as the video went viral, and the company she works for, Franklin Templeton, announced Tuesday afternoon that she had been fired after the company did an internal review.

"We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton," the company's statement said.  

Throughout the entire video, the woman is seen pulling on the dog's collar instead of just putting a leash on the animal.

The video on Facebook had more than 11,000 shares as of Tuesday afternoon.

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

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“I videotaped it because I thought it was important to document things,” Christian Cooper told CNN. “Unfortunately we live in an era with things like Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are seen as targets. This woman thought she could exploit that to her advantage, and I wasn’t having it.”

Amy Cooper told CNN that she wanted to apologize publicly.

"I'm not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way," she said. She added she didn't mean any harm to the African American community.

"When you're alone in the Ramble, you don't know what's happening. It's not excusable, it's not defensible," she said.

She added that her "entire life is being destroyed right now."

Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. said in a Facebook post that the dog in the video has been surrendered while the dispute is being addressed. He was adopted just a few days earlier.

"The dog is now in our rescue's care and he is safe and in good health," the post said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the video exemplified hatred that has “no place in our city.”

“The video out of Central Park is racism, plain and simple,” de Blasio tweeted. “She called the police BECAUSE he was a Black man. Even though she was the one breaking the rules. She decided he was the criminal and we know why.”

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