Amy Cooper, the subject of a viral video recorded in New York City’s Central Park, claimed to CNN on Monday that her "entire life is being destroyed right now" after the posting of a now-viral video on social media.
The clip in question, which has been viewed nearly 30 million times, was originally posted by Melody Cooper - no relation to Amy - on Twitter. Melody detailed that her brother - now identified as Christian Cooper - is an avid bird-watcher and recorded the woman after asking her to put her dog on a leash - as required by park rules.
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble 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. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
Amy Cooper is seen asking the man to stop recording her. After he refuses, she then approaches the man against his will and threatens to call the police, noting that she will specifically “tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”
“Please tell them whatever you like,” Christian is overheard replying from behind the camera.
“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 said to the 911 dispatcher, before repeating, “There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog.”
The dog, who appears to be struggling to breathe as Amy Cooper tugs on her collar, then lets out a loud yelp.
“I’m sorry I can’t hear … I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble. Please send the cops immediately!” she yelled in a more-distressed tone.
Within hours, the footage received millions of views, and Amy Cooper was identified, or doxxed, by netizens. Many social media users were quick to point out her treatment of her dog while, at the very least, also attempting to have a man arrested for telling her to leash the dog.
She should be charged for the way she's abusing her dog alone... https://t.co/IA3YQG2829— ❄Mikki Kendall❄ (@Karnythia) May 25, 2020
The same day, netizens contacted Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue Inc. after learning that she obtained her dog from the rescue center back in 2018. Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue responded publicly via a notice which detailed that Amy Cooper had “voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue.”
In usual doxxing fashion, Amy Cooper’s employer, investment firm Franklin Templeton, was also contacted and shown the video. The investment management company also issued a statement, announcing she had been placed on “administrative leave” while it investigated the situation. A follow-up post announced she had been terminated from the company and that it does not “tolerate racism of any kind.”
Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.— Franklin Templeton (@FTI_US) May 26, 2020
"I'm not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way," Amy Cooper told CNN on Tuesday. "I think I was just scared … When you're alone in the Ramble, you don't know what's happening. It's not excusable, it's not defensible."
Race aside, many netizens, including former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, said that it appears that Amy Cooper was making a false police report within the video.
It looks like she’s making a false police report. That’s not just racist—it’s a crime. https://t.co/W61o100XnW— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) May 25, 2020
In an interview with local outlet PIX11, New York City Police Department First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said that it's unlikely that his department will bring charges against Amy Cooper in connection to the “unfortunate event” that occurred in Central Park.
“We’re not going to pursue that, we’ve got bigger fish to fry,” he said on Tuesday. “And the DA [district attorney] would never prosecute that … it’s not even clear that it would be actionable in terms of any violations.”
He also noted that neither Christian or Amy were at the scene when officers arrived.
It’s unclear whether Christian Cooper will file charges.