A white woman in the US called the police on an African American man over a dispute about her dog.
A video of a white woman calling the police on a Black man who asked her to leash her dog in the park has gone viral.
Christian Cooper was bird watching on Memorial Day in an area of New York City’s Central Park called the Ramble, which is home to “delicate” plants and wildlife, when he saw Amy Cooper walking her dog off-leash.
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The Rambles is an area in the park which requires all dogs to be on a leash.
Christian began recording Amy on his cellphone after he says he asked her to leash her dog and after he offered her dog treats to try to lure him out of a plant bed.
In the video, the confrontation can be seen heating up quickly as Amy says she is going to call the police on Christian and that she is going to say: “There’s an African American man threatening my life.”
Christian’s sister, Melody, posted the video taken by her brother onto social media, which ignited outrage around the world. Amy was quickly criticised for her racially charged language and actions.
Amy has since lost her job at the investment firm Franklin Templeton. She has issued an apology, saying: “I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of 40 years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology.”
During a CNN interview, she said: “I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way … 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.”
She also claimed Christian was screaming at her despite the video showing him speaking calmly.
The dog has also been surrendered to a shelter after being visibly choked during the incident.
Christian is a Harvard graduate, a pioneering comic book writer and biomedical editor for Health Science Communications. But that does not matter in this situation, his sister said.
“If the cops showed up, they wouldn’t have seen his resume or known his job,” Melody Cooper said. “This kind of racism can kill people. It could’ve killed my brother.”
“I do accept her apology,” Christian Cooper said in an interview to The View. “I think it’s a first step. I think she’s gotta do some reflection on what happened because up until the moment when she made that statement … it was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker, and then she took it to a very dark place. I think she’s gotta sort of examine why and how that happened.”
This report was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Adam Adada