- A black man who filmed a viral video of a white woman calling the police on him in Central Park says he is “uncomfortable” with the backlash against her.
- Amy Cooper called the police to say Christian Cooper (no relation) was threatening her. The altercation started when he asked her to put her dog on a leash.
- The video, posted to Twitter by Christian Cooper’s sister, has almost 39 million views and led Amy Cooper to be fired from a global investment firm and accused of choking her dog, which she then gave to a rescue group.
- Christian Cooper said that if the aim was to make wider change, “I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal.”
- Amy Cooper apologised to NBC New York and said in a CNN interview that she was “not a racist.”
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A black man who filmed a viral video of a white woman calling the police on him New York’s Central Park said he was “uncomfortable” with the backlash, which has led to her losing her job.
Video footage filmed by Christian Cooper shows the woman, Amy Cooper, threatening to call the police to report an “African American man threatening my life.” (It is a coincidence that the two have the same surname.)
She did so, and police came, though they took no action. It later emerged that the altercation started when he asked her to put her dog on a leash, as required in the section of the park where they were.
The video, shared on Twitter by Christian Cooper’s sister, Melody, had almost 39 million views as of early Wednesday morning.
Outrage over the video led to Amy Cooper’s being fired from the global investment firm Franklin Templeton and to allegations that she was choking her dog, which she then “voluntarily surrendered” to an animal rescue.
You can watch the video here:
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
But in an interview with The New York Times, Christian Cooper said he was taken aback by the reaction and thought it was not the right way to try to address the root of such incidents.
“It’s a little bit of a frenzy, and I am uncomfortable with that,” he said.
“If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal.”
Cooper had previously spoken with NBC New York, where he said he had decided to keep filming as he refused to be intimidated, and he described racism in American society.
“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,” he said.
In the video, he encouraged her when she suggested calling the police. He told NBC that he kept filming because “I am not going to participate in my own dehumanization.”
“I am not going to feed into this,” he said.
Cooper had been bird-watching and asked the woman to put her dog on a leash as required in a protected area of the park. The dog remained off its leash until the end of the video.
Both parties said Cooper had tried to give the dog a treat. Amy Cooper said she felt “threatened” and “overreacted.”
Amy Cooper did not respond to The Times’ request for comment.
But she told NBC New York on Monday that she “humbly and fully apologizes to everyone who’s seen that video.”
She also said she had come to realise that different groups of people could be treated differently by the police.
“When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person,” she said. “I’ve come to realise especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realise that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury.”
And she later told CNN: “I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way.”
She added that she wanted to “publicly apologise to everyone.”