On Monday, as the video of a white woman named Amy Cooper began to circulate examining white privilege and racism in America, many wondered if she would have to actually face any tangible consequences for her actions.
As we previously reported, Amy began accosting a Black man named Christian Cooper in Central Park on Monday after Christian asked her to leash her dog, who was roaming freely about in the middle of a pandemic. Because she felt offended that a Black man asked her to assume responsibility, Amy instead decided to weaponize against him and make a false call to police, claiming she was being threatened by a Black man.
Soon after the story began gaining traction, Amy was suspended from her job and was forced to return her dog to the adoption agency from which it came. Yesterday Amy’s employer, Franklin Templeton, announced she was terminated from her position. And the Central Park Civic Association called for her to be barred permanently from entering the park. While she feels she apologized, many of us wanted her to keep it because her statement evaded any responsibility for what she sowed.
But losing financial gain is not enough. Amy should also face charges for falsely calling the police. There are several petitions circulating the internet as a call to action for this to happen.
On Wednesday NYC’s Commission on Human Rights announced they will launch an investigation into the event, which could lead to fines, or “compensatory damages to victims, including emotional distress damages and other benefits.”
“At a time when the devastating impacts of racism in Black communities have been made so painfully clear — from racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, to harassment of essential workers on the frontlines — it is appalling to see these types of ugly threats directed at one New Yorker by another,” said Sapna Raj, deputy commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the Commission on Human Rights.
“Efforts to intimidate Black people by threatening to call law enforcement draw on a long, violent and painful history, and they are unacceptable. We encourage Ms. Cooper to cooperate with the Commission and meaningfully engage in a process to address the harm that she has caused,” Raj continued.
Christian’s character and integrity was examined after it was reported he is a senior biomedical editor for Health Science Communications, and formerly worked as a writer/editor for Marvel Comics. The addition of his occupation also lead to discussions around respectability politics and policing who gets to be seen as threatening and who is accepted as civil.
Christian Cooper has continued to speak out, essentially saying that Amy needs to deeply evaluate because her “apology” didn’t align with her actions.
“I think her apology is sincere. I’m not sure if in that apology that she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself to be a racist, that particular act was definitely racist,” he said in an interview with Don Lemon on Tuesday.