Company suspends US woman who called police on black man who asked her to put her dog on a leash
- A US woman has been suspended from a global investment firm after a video showed her calling the police on a man who had asked her to put her dog on a leash.
- A video with more than 18 million views shows the woman, later identified as Amy Cooper, threatening to tell the police that "there's an African American man threatening my life" and then doing so.
- Cooper apologised in an interview with NBC New York and said she felt threatened during the encounter.
- As the backlash mounted, the investment firm Franklin Templeton said it was investigating and had suspended an employee.
- It did not name Cooper, but NBC New York reported that she was the woman in question.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
A global investment firm has suspended a woman after a video circulated of her calling the police on a man who had asked her to put her dog on a leash.
The video showed Amy Cooper, who is white, approaching a man later identified as Christian Cooper, who is black, and threatening to call the police. (It is a coincidence that the two have the same surname.)
She asked him to stop filming her and said she would call the police to report an "African American man threatening my life," which she then did. The police responded but ultimately took no action.
The video started a firestorm on social media, which led Amy Cooper to apologize in a statement to NBC New York. She was also suspended from her job.
Franklin Templeton Investments, a US asset-management firm, said an employee had been placed on leave as the company investigated the situation.
It did not name the woman, but NBC reported that Cooper was the staffer in question.
The statement said: "We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind."
As of early Tuesday, the video had over 18 million views on Twitter.
It showed a woman, wearing a mask, petting a dog in a wooded area. The video was said to have been filmed in the Ramble area of New York City's Central Park, where dogs are required to be on a leash; the dog in the video was not.
The woman walked toward the camera and asked a man not to film, and he asked her: "Please don't come close to me."
She then got closer and said she would call the police, and the man said, "Please call the cops."
"I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life," she then said.
The man said, "Please tell them whatever you like."
The woman then said on the call that an African American man with a bicycle helmet was recording her and "threatening myself and my dog."
She then shouted, sounding upset: "Please send the cops immediately."
You can watch the video here:
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NYâ€™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
Melody Cooper, a screenwriter who is Christian Cooper's sister, said she posted the video to Twitter after getting it from him.
She wrote that her brother had "politely" asked the woman to put her dog on a leash while he was out bird-watching.
A New York Police Department representative told Insider that the police were called to the Central Park Ramble over a reported assault but did not make any arrests.
In a call with NBC New York on Monday, Amy Cooper said she "humbly and fully apologizes to everyone who's seen that video."
"I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family," she told the outlet. "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."
Cooper said the man had offered her dog a treat, which made her feel "threatened," but that she "overreacted."
"When I think about the police, I'm such a blessed person," she said. "I've come to realise 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."
Christian Cooper told NBC that he kept filming as he did not want to be intimidated by the woman.
"I am not going to participate in my own dehumanization," he said. "I am not going to feed into this."
He said that he had offered the dog a treat after she refused to put the dog on a leash and that she then grabbed the dog and he started recording.
"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," he said.
Melody Cooper posted a follow-up tweet on Tuesday morning in which she thanked people for their concern and said her brother was "fine."
"My brother & I are so grateful for your concern! He is fine and left to continue birding after she leashed the dog, as he politely requested.
My brother & I are so grateful for your concern! He is fine and left to continue birding after she leashed the dog, as he politely requested. I wanted folks to know what happened to make sure it never happens again from her. All she had to do was put her poor dog on the leash.— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 26, 2020
"I wanted folks to know what happened to make sure it never happens again from her. All she had to do was put her poor dog on the leash."
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