A white woman shown on viral video Monday is out of a job after she tried to weaponize New York City police against a Black birdwatcher for asking her to put her dog on a leash on Memorial Day in New York’s Central Park. Amy Cooper, who used to lead insurance portfolio management at the investment firm Franklin Templeton, was placed on administrative leave Monday and has since been fired, according to the company.
“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately,” the company tweeted Tuesday. “We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”
Millions of social media users shared the video Christian Cooper shot of his encounter with Amy at Central Park. He later posted his synopsis of what happened on Facebook:
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, a Harvard graduate and science editor on the board of the New York City Audubon Society, captured Amy spiraling into an apparent meltdown that luckily the police didn’t fall for. No complaint was filed, NBC New York reported. In the video, however, Amy can be seen calling the police while saying: “I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.” When she reached a dispatcher, she said repeatedly: “He’s African-American.”
Since the viral encounter, there’s been an outpouring of support for Christian Cooper, from those noting his esteemed reputation as a birdwatcher to Texas State Sen. Royce West, who called for Amy Cooper to be arrested for making a false report, according to CBS DFW.
“Making a false police report is illegal in New York as it is in Texas and many other states. This type of conduct must be addressed,” West said. He went on to say that Amy’s conduct is exactly the type of conduct that can lead to Black people being falsely arrested, shot, or killed by police. “People who attempt to weaponize the police against African Americans and other minorities must be held accountable,” West told CBS DFW.
Christian Cooper told The Washington Post: “I don’t think there’s an African American person in America who hasn’t experienced something like this at some point. I don’t shy away from confronting the scofflaw when I see it. Otherwise, the park would be unusable — not just to us birders but to anybody who enjoys the beauty."
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