A shocking viral video showing a white woman calling the cops on a black man in Central Park and claiming he was threatening her life has the internet outraged at an incident that could have easily turned tragic.

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Christian Cooper was birdwatching in the Ramble in New York City’s Central Park when a woman later identified as Amy Cooper (no relation) came through with her dog off leash. Park policy is for all dogs to be leashed in that area, and Christian says he asked her to leash him up. She declined, he says he offered the dog a treat, and that’s when she began screaming at him and he began to film.

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In the video, Amy can be seen charging towards Christian, demanding that he stop filming. She soon pulls her own phone out and informs him she’s calling the police. 

“I’m going to tell them that there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she says.

And sure enough, that’s what she does. Christian keeps his cool, staying in the same place and staying quiet as Amy walks further away to call the cops, actually dragging and choking her dog the whole time rather than simply putting him on a leash.

“I’m in the Ramble, and there is a man, African American, he has a bicycle helmet, he is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” she tells the person on the phone.

When seemingly asked to repeat herself, Amy appears to pointedly ramp up the distress in her voice, despite there being literally no escalation or threat apparent.

“I am being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately! I’m in Central Park in the Ramble!” she cries.

At that point, she finally puts her dog on its leash and Christian stops recording.

The incident is a heinous display of white weaponization of institutionalized racism.

Amy’s express threat to tell the cops there is an African American man “threatening” her suggests she knows perfectly well that could invoke a certain kind of reaction from law enforcement. Her repeated attempts to make it sound as though she was in imminent danger from a man who simply asked her to leash her dog also showed that she had no concern about what might happen to Christian if the cops did show up, and might even welcome violence against him.

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As the video went viral, internet sleuths quickly discovered Amy’s identity.

It didn’t take long for them to find out that she works as the VP of Investment Solutions at Franklin Templeton, according to a now-deleted Linked In page.

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Franklin Templeton released a statement the same day, acknowledging that “the employee involved has been put on administrative leave” while the incident is investigated.


And a rescue organization confirmed she surrendered the dog back to them, as well.

The video also showed Amy manhandling her dog, who was clearly distressed, and concern for its well-being was expressed by folks online.


“As of this evening, the owner has voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue while this matter is being addressed,” read a statement from Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc.

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It’s worth noting that the dog rescue responded before Amy’s employers.


Amy released an apology statement after everything came crashing down.

“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she told NBC New York via phone. “It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended…everyone who thinks of me in a lower light and I understand why they do.”

“When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury,” she added.

But to many, Amy’s apology rings false, especially considering she seemed to know exactly what she was doing when she called the police.


Fortunately, the whole incident didn’t escalate into tragedy, and Christian’s sister confirmed that he was able to continue birdwatching after he stopped recording.

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While calls for Amy’s arrest continue to echo across Twitter, it remains to be seen if she will face any actual consequences for her actions beyond a public shaming and “investigations” by the animal rescue and her employer.

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*First Published: May 26, 2020, 6:58 am