Amy Cooper, the dog-walking Manhattan woman shown in a viral video calling 911 on a black man who was birdwatching in Central Park, was first identified by her former dog-walkers.
Lindsey Cork, 31, and Kyle Stover, 30, told the New York Daily News on Tuesday night that they felt compelled to identify Cooper after witnessing her calling the cops on Christian Cooper, 57, in a wooded area of Central Park known as “the Ramble.”
Cork and Stover said they decided they needed to call out Amy Cooper.
“We’ve seen so many videos of people being shot or killed for less, and that’s terrifying, and like (Amy Cooper) either doesn’t understand the weight of her actions or words or she does, both of which are terrible,” Stover told the Daily News. Cork, who the news outlet said identified Cooper, said she was of the same mind.
“If I know a person doing this, and I can identify them, I’m not going to just be quiet. I can’t. It’s against any kind of ethics I have,” she said. “When you look at a black person in a situation like that and say, ‘I’m going to call the police and tell them a black man is threatening me,’ at the end of the day, the message is, ‘You’re inconveniencing me or upsetting me, so I’m going to put your life at risk.'”
In case you missed it, Christian Cooper recorded the incident and posted about it on Facebook, saying that the confrontation began when Amy Cooper refused to put her dog on a leash. Here’s what he wrote:
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…
Christian Cooper’s sister Melody Cooper later shared the video on Monday, which has been viewed more than 40 million times.
“Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous [R]amble 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,” she said.
In the video, Amy Cooper can be heard repeatedly saying that she is going to call police and “tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
After the video sparked widespread outrage, Amy Cooper apologized and said that she was afraid, not a racist.
“I think I was just scared,” she said. “When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening. It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.”
In a Tuesday statement, Amy Cooper said she “made false assumptions” about what Christian Cooper meant when he said, in her words, “You’re not going to like what I’m going to do next”:
I want to apologize to Chris Cooper for my actions when I encountered him in Central Park yesterday. I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash. When Chris began offering treats to my dog and confronted me in an area where there was no one else nearby and said, “You’re not going to like what I’m going to do next,” I assumed we were being threatened when all he had intended to do was record our encounter on his phone. He had every right to request that I leash my dog in an area where it was required. I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris. I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology.
After being placed on administrative leave, Amy Cooper was quickly fired from her Franklin Templeton job.
“We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company said. The dog, which we now know is named Henry, is no longer in Amy Cooper’s possession. Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue said Cooper “voluntarily surrendered” the dog.
When asked why he chose to film the encounter, Christian Cooper said, “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.”
Lindsey Cork described Amy Cooper as “a little weird” and said she thought Cooper was “kind of quirky or neurotic.” Cork said that, although she never heard Cooper say racist things, she thinks the 911 call should be criminally investigated.
Law&Crime’s Elura Nanos argued on Tuesday morning that a case could be made for prosecuting Amy Cooper:
In New York, making a false report is a class A misdemeanor.
Under Section 240.50, a person is guilty if she, “Initiates or circulates a false report” of something that didn’t actually happen, or, “gratuitously reports to a law enforcement officer or agency…an allegedly impending occurrence of an offense or incident which in fact is not about to occur.” So, Amy Cooper’s near-hysterical call to police that an African American man was threatening her life, and threatening her dog appears to fit squarely within the confines of the false reporting statute. Cooper has spoken to several news outlets and apologized for her behavior; those apologies, particularly when taken together with the video, tend to confirm that her reporting of the incident was false.
Christian Cooper said Tuesday night on CNN that he believed Amy Cooper’s apology was “sincere,” but that there was no doubt what she did was a “racist act.”
“I’m not sure that in that apology she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist,” he said. “And the fact that that was her recourse at that moment — granted, it was a stressful situation, a sudden situation — you know, maybe a moment of spectacularly poor judgment. But she went there and had this racist act that she did.”
He also said that death threats made against Amy Cooper are “wholly inappropriate and abhorrent and should stop immediately.”
[Image via Twitter screengrab]
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