- Police officers were called to Central Park in New York City after a man and a woman got into an argument that apparently started over a dog being off-leash in a protected area.
- Melody Cooper, a science-fiction and horror screenwriter, posted a video of the incident to Twitter on Monday. As of Monday evening, the video has been viewed over 5 million times.
- “I’m going to tell them that there is an African American man threatening my life,” the woman in the video said before appearing to call the police.
- A spokeswoman for the New York City Police Department told Insider that the police were called to the Central Park Ramble over a reported assault but no arrests were made.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A woman was caught on video appearing to call the police claiming there was an “African American man threatening my life,” a scene described by the Twitter user who posted the video as a reaction to being told to put her dog on a leash in a protected area of Central Park.
Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell, a representative for the New York City Police Department, told Insider the incident occurred at about 8:10 a.m. on Monday.
According to O’Donnell, the police were called to the Central Park Ramble over a reported assault. When the police arrived, they determined that two people had “engaged in a verbal dispute.” The officers did not make any arrests or issue any summons.
Video of the incident was posted to Twitter on Monday by Melody Cooper, a science-fiction and horror screenwriter. As of Monday evening, the video has been viewed over 5 million times.
“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,” Cooper tweeted alongside the video.
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
The video shows a woman standing near a dog in a wooded area. The dog does not appear to be on a leash.
The woman then grabs the dog by the collar and begins to walk toward the man who is filming the interaction.
“Can you please stop?” the woman asks the man. “Sir I’m asking you to stop.”
The man then asks the woman to maintain her distance.
“Please don’t come close to me,” he responds as she approaches.
“Sir, I’m asking you to stop recording me,” she says, growing agitated.
The man, unperturbed, continues recording as the woman threatens to call the police.
“I’m going to tell them that there is an African American man threatening my life,” she says, before appearing to call the police.
“I’m in the Ramble, and there is a man, an African American, he has a bicycle helmet, he is recording me, threatening me and my dog,” she says before growing more frantic as the man recording stands silently from a distance. The man says “thank you” before turning off the recording.
According to Cooper, the man filming the encounter is her brother, an avid bird-watcher who is a member of the New York Audubon Society, which protects the state’s native bird species.
She told Insider that her brother “has been working along with other birders in Central Park to get dog walkers to keep their dogs on the leash in the Ramble part of Central Park,” which is part of the New York City legal code.
“They disrupt the plantings and birds,” Cooper said.
The Ramble is an area of Central Park between 73rd and 78th streets known for its bird-watching opportunities. According to CentralPark.com, the area is home to “approximately 230 species found in the woods.”
According to the Central Park Conservancy, dogs are allowed in most sections of the park when it is open to the public and there are designated off-leash hours between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. Dogs are required to be on-leash at all times in certain areas, such as the Ramble, however, and signs are posted in those areas alerting dog owners of the park’s policies.
Twitter lit up in response to the video, with many users criticising the woman.
That Central Park lady is seriously disturbed. I know nothing bad happens, but I can’t get through the video because of her rage and the way she’s not only threatening a birdwatching dude but how she’s dragging that poor dog around by the neck. Yikes a-million. Literal woof.
— Meghan O’Keefe (@megsokay) May 25, 2020
I'm a birder too, but also a dog owner. I've seen that woman, and her dog offleash in The Ramble many, many times. I always ask nicely to have owners put their dog on a leash&most ignore me. Sorry, this happened to him. Happy to bird with him anytime.
— Gloria (@Lucent508) May 25, 2020
I am so deeply disturbed by this video and how callously she was willing to put your brother's life at risk. How quickly the racism came out. Tons of non-black birders have asked ppl to leash dogs without being threatened with cops. Tell him the NYC birding community is with him!
— Corinne Low (@femonomics) May 25, 2020