A viral video shows a white woman calling police on a black man and frantically claiming he was threatening her after a disagreement over leashing her dog. A white woman called the NYPD and accused a black man of threatening her and her dog after an exchange that started when the man asked the woman to leash her dog in Central Park. Christian Cooper captured part of the exchange in a now-viral video that was posted to Twitter by his sister. The woman, later identified as Amy Cooper, is shown on video asking Cooper to stop recording her, or she was going to call the cops and tell them "there's an African American man threatening my life." She repeated the statement several times, each time sounding more distressed, while appearing to call 911 dispatch. Meanwhile, Christian didn't appear to move any closer to Amy. He tells NBC New York that he's an avid bird watcher who was in The Ramble, a popular spot in the park for birders, around 8 a.m. Monday morning. He says he only asked Amy to put her dog on the leash in the area where it's required to have your dog on a leash at all times. "If the habitat is destroyed we won’t be able to go there to see the birds, to enjoy the plantings," Christian explained on Monday night. When Amy refused, he says he offered her dog a treat and started recording the incident. "The only way they can keep the dog from eating the treat is to put it on a leash," he said. "At some point, she decided I’m gonna play the race card, I guess." When Christian refused to stop recording her, Amy grabs her dog's collar and moves away from him to call the police, the video shows. "There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog," she said. The woman repeats her assertions several times to dispatchers while struggling to keep the dog within her control, lifting the dog up and pulling it by its collar several times. Christian says he continued recording because he wasn't going to be intimidated. "I'm not going to participate in my own dehumanization. I'm not going to feed into this," he said. "We live in an age of Ahmaud Arbery where black men are gunned down because of assumptions people make about black men, black people, and I’m just not going to participate in that," Christian tells NBC New York, echoing the online criticism Amy received. Christian stopped recording after Amy finally puts her dog on a leash. He is heard telling her, "Thank you." By the time officers arrived, Christian had already left. The NYPD said no complaint or arrests were made after police determined the incident was a "verbal dispute." The video of the incident had over 11 million views on Twitter as of Monday night. Speaking exclusively to NBC New York, Amy says she overreacted but she claimed that Christian was screaming, and that she felt threatened because she didn't know what was in the dog treats. "I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family," she said in a phone call. "It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize 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." "When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury," she continued. As a result of the incident, Amy has been put on administrative by her employer Franklin Templeton, an investment management company. In response to an incident involving an employee on May 25th, Franklin Templeton issued the following statement. — Franklin Templeton (@FTI_US) May 26, 2020 In addition to criticism of racism, Amy also received criticism of animal cruelty because she appeared to be choking her dog for nearly a minute after she grabbed it by the collar. Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue says Amy adopted the dog a few years ago and has "voluntarily surrendered" the dog while the incident is being addressed. "The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health," the rescue said. The incident has sparked outrage and is trending in US, Nigeria, UK and Germany.
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