Woman 'sorry' for calling police after black man asks her to put dog on leash

May 26, 2020

A video of a white woman calling police after a row with a black man who asked her to put her dog on a leash has gone viral.

Christian Cooper said he was bird watching in a wooded area of New York's Central Park when the argument began.

Mr Cooper, a former Marvel Comics editor, filmed part of the altercation in which the woman - who has now been suspended from her job - tells him to stop recording.

She warns him: "I am going to tell them an African American man is threatening my life."

The woman, who's been identified as Amy Cooper (no relation), tells police: "There is a man, African American, he has a bicycle helmet - he is recording me and threatening me and my dog."

Growing hysterical, she pleads: "Please send the cops immediately!"

The video of Monday morning's incident was reposted by Mr Cooper's sister on Twitter and has already been watched more than 23 million times.

Writing alongside the original clip on Facebook, Mr Cooper said the row began when he pointed out a sign that states dogs must be leashed in the area - which is known as the Ramble.

He said she claimed it was too dangerous, before he tried to give the dog a "treat" and she warned him off as the altercation escalated and he began filming.

Ms Cooper told US media she is not racist and was just scared when Mr Cooper "came out of the bush".

She told NBC News: "I sincerely and humbly apologise to everyone, especially to that man, his family.

"It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologise to everyone who's seen that video, everyone that's been offended, everyone who thinks of me in a lower light - and I understand why they do."

Ms Cooper's employer, investment firm Franklin Templeton, tweeted: "We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind.

"While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave."

Mr Cooper told The Washington Post he did not want Ms Cooper to face any repercussions, but said: "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."

Reacting to the video, Twitter users said the consequences for Mr Cooper could have been very serious if police had turned up and misunderstood the situation.

"This is terrifying. She abused 911 and intentionally made herself sound like she was in distress. Anything could have happened to your brother," said one post with more than 56,000 likes.

The dog in the video is in good health and has been "voluntarily surrendered" while the matter is being looked into, said Abandoned Angeles Cocker Spaniel Rescue.

The group said on Facebook that the dog had been adopted from them "a few years ago".

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