A white woman has been forced to apologise for calling the police on a black man after he asked her to put her dog on a leash while at the park.
The reason, she claimed in a now viral video, was because she thought the man was ‘threatening’ her life, despite no physical contact or any verbal threats of violence.
While bird watching in Central Park, Christian Cooper noticed a woman and her dog, who was illegally unleashed. So he asked her to put a leash on her dog.
The woman – identified as Amy Cooper (no relation) – can be seen on the video telling the bird-watching man:
Can you please stop? Sir, I’m asking you to stop.
Please don’t come close to me.
She then walked over to him angrily and dragged her dog alongside her:
Please turn your phone off. I’m taking a picture and calling the cops.
As she dialled the number, she said she was going to tell the authorities about “an African American man threatening my life”.
While waiting for the number to dial, her dog was clearly struggling to breathe as it tried to wriggle out of the tight hold of its owner’s hand around the collar.
As soon as someone answered her call, she worked herself up and eventually screamed:
I’m being threatened by a man… please send the cops immediately.
The video was initially posted to Facebook on Monday and soon made its way to Twitter, where it’s had over 23 million views.
The actions of the woman in the video caused a huge backlash among people on social media:
When officers eventually arrived on the scene, neither parties were still there.
Amy Cooper told CNN that since the video went viral, her “entire life is being destroyed right now”.
She has since been placed on administrative leave by her employer, Franklin Templeton.
While admitting that it’s not a good enough excuse, she said:
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.
Christian Cooper explained his reasoning behind taping the confrontation:
Unfortunately we live in an era with things like Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are seen as targets. This woman thought she could exploit that to her advantage, and I wasn't having it.
He said he would consider accepting her apology “if it is genuine”.