When video of a New York white woman calling the police on a Black man who asked her to leash her dog in a birdwatching area went viral, social media exploded with people blasting her. Many called for her to lose her lucrative job and even accusing her of a borderline hate crime for allegedly attempting to weaponize the police against the man.
Amy Cooper, told CNN that her "entire life is being destroyed right now" by the reaction to the incident and has apologized for what happened. Within 24 hours of the video being posted, a firestorm of controversy ensued.
"I think I was just scared," she said. "When you're alone in the Ramble, you don't know what's happening. It's not excusable, it's not defensible."
The original video of the Memorial Day (May 25) incident has been viewed more than 23 million times on Twitter by writer and director Melody Cooper, whose brother, Christian argued with Amy Cooper (no relation) over leashing her dog.
Christian Cooper is a Harvard grad and senior biomedical editor at Health Science Communications, who also once worked as an editor for Marvel Comics, according to his LinkedIn bio. But Amy Cooper apparently saw him as a threatening Black man when she called police, telling them “there is a man, African American, he has a bike helmet and he’s recording me and threatening me and my dog.”
Her recorded behavior elicited a multitude of reactions on social media with many calling her out as racist and pointing out similarities between an historical interaction with a white woman that became lethal.
Others are calling on Amy Cooper’s employer, Franklin Templeton, where she works as a vice president of Investment Solutions to terminate her as a result of exhibiting racist behavior. The firm, so far, has only placed her on administrative leave.
Some are saying that Amy Cooper should be arrested for falsely reporting a crime to the police, which in New York City is considered a misdemeanor, and is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Despite the viral confrontation, Christian Cooper is moving on and will continue his birdwatching activities, his sister said in a follow-up tweet. For his part, he says he’d accept the woman’s apology if she agrees to follow park rules moving forward.
"If it's genuine and if she plans on keeping her dog on a leash in the Ramble going forward, then we have no issues with each other."