A white woman who told New York police that a black man who asked for her dog to be leashed was “threatening” her, has since apologised after video went viral.
Amy Cooper admitted on Monday night that her actions were “unacceptable”, and has since been placed on administrative leave from her position at Franklin Templeton, an investment management company.
Ms Cooper confirmed that she had returned her dog to a shelter after viewers also condemned her handling of the pet during the confrontation in Central Park.
“It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologise to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended,” she told NBC New York.
“When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person,” added Ms Cooper. 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.”
More than 15 million people have now watched the video that Mr Cooper’s sister posted on Twitter, after he videoed Ms Cooper when she refused to leash her dog in a protected area of Central Park which requires dog owners to do so.
“If the habitat is destroyed we won’t be able to go there to see the birds, to enjoy the plantings,” Mr Cooper explained to NBC New York. “At some point, she decided I’m gonna play the race card, I guess.”
He can be heard in the video repeating “please don’t come close”, as Ms Copper grabs her dog’s neck brace and walks towards the camera.
She then demands that he stops videoing, and threatens to phone the police.
“Please call the cops”, the man is heard saying. “Please, tell them whatever you like.”
She then dials 911 to tell police that an “African American man” had threatened her in the Rambles of Central Park.
“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,” said Mr Cooper on Monday night.
On Tuesday night, Ms Cooper’s employer said in a statement that it had decided to permanently dismiss Ms Cooper, who had been suspend earlier.
They said: “Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park on May 25th, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”
The New York Police Department spokesperson said on Monday that they were called to the Ramble area of Central Park around 8am on Monday with an assault report, but made no arrests following the verbal dispute.
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