When Christian Cooper, an avid birdwatcher, emerged out of his home on Monday, he had no idea he would be the target of another racist “Karen” encounter, making him the center of a viral internet moment which again drudged up historical context of white women using state sanctioned violence against Black men and women.
Cooper’s encounter with a woman identified as Amy Cooper, was shared by Christian’s sister Melody and posted on Twitter. Christian also shared his viewpoint of the encounter on his Facebook page.
He said the two went back and forth in the Ramble, a wooded area of Central Park that is visited by bird watchers to view ground dwelling birds. He noticed the dog running without a leash and asked her to restrain the dog.
“I pull out the dog treats I carry for just for such intransigence,” he wrote. “That’s when I started video recording with my iPhone, and when her inner Karen fully emerged and took a dark turn.”
The video, which takes place moments after Christian asks Amy to leash her dog in New York City’s Central Park, shows Amy in a full meltdown over the encounter, to the point where she can’t compose herself and instead resorts to calling 911.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” she says while frantically grabbing her phone to dial.
“Please tell them whatever you like,” he responds.
In the midst of the chaos she starts her bogus claim that Christian is a threatening “African-American man” while choking her dog, who is clearly struggling to escape her grasp. “Please send the cops immediately!” she says while painting, all the while Christian is standing yards apart from her. When she finally leashes her dog, he lets out a sturdy, “Thank you.”
Writer Sofia Quntero summed up the sentiment of the encounter, one that has existed as a copy/paste exercise as these encounters continue to pop up, even in the middle of a pandemic.
Over the course of the next few hours as the video gained more retweets and shares, Black Twitter went to work, trying to locate her place of employment and a safer home solution for the struggling pup.
Before the end of the day, their crusade was celebrated after her employer, global investment firm Franklin Templeton, announced Amy was placed under administrative leave.
In the same time frame Amy’s dog Henry was surrendered to the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, the same group she adopted him from two years prior.
In a non-apology obtained by CNN Amy denies being a racist and laughingly says she meant no harm to Christian or the African-American community.
“I think I was just scared,” she continued. “When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening. It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.”
No arrests or summons were made, according to the NYPD, but many believe Amy deserves more disciplinary action for making a false call to authorities.
“I videotaped it because I thought it was important to document things,” Christian told CNN. “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 only accepts the apology if she genuinely means it and will continue to keep her dog on a leash as the park rules suggest.