On Monday, a new video surfaced online of a white woman calling the police on a black man for existing in a manner she did not enjoy. Christian Cooper, a black man who enjoys the simple pleasure of bird watching, came across a woman in Central Park with an unleashed dog in an area where leashes were required, according to New York Times. Cooper politely asked the woman to put a leash on her dog, possibly believing that he was speaking to a level-headed adult. Instead, the woman began to berate Cooper and approach him in a menacing fashion, while threatening to call the police.
The white woman, who was identified on Twitter by a former dogwalker as Amy Cooper, called the police and in an Oscar-worthy performance, told the operator that an “African American man” was threatening her and her dog. As is clear in the video, Christian Cooper (no relation to Amy) remained calm and allowed Amy Cooper to lie to the authorities in peace. Once she put a leash on her over-excited dog, Christian said “thank you” and carried on with his day—hopefully seeing all the birds his heart desired.
The backlash on Twitter was instant. According to a tweet from her employer, Franklin Templeton, Amy Cooper has been placed on administrative leave while they “investigate” the situation. The New York Times reports that by Monday night, Amy Cooper had surrendered her dog to the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, after being criticized online for choking the dog for a full minute before attaching his leash. But this story would not be complete without an insincere apology from the white woman who adamantly claims she is not a racist.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man [and] his family,” Amy Cooper told NBC. “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.” She then added her two cents on police-community relations, which not a soul asked for. “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.” Another luxury that many people don’t have? The ability to simply go outside and not be bothered by racists.
Update 2:54 pm ET: According to a tweet posted by Franklin Templeton on Tuesday afternoon, Amy Cooper has been fired, “effective immediately.”