Update: May 26, 2020, 4:14 p.m. Amy Cooper, the White woman who has been under scrutiny after calling the cops on a Black man in New York City’s Central Park, has been fired from her job.
“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company said in a statement on Twitter.
In earlier public statements, Amy Cooper had told CNN that she’s not racist, adding that she wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone.”
“I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she insisted, even though video footage showed her taking on a terrified tone as she told a 911 operator that an African-American man was threatening her and her dog.
Amy Cooper, a White woman who told police that an “African-American man was threatening” her life all over an exchange that started when the man asked her to put a leash on her dog is currently on administrative leave from her job.
The tense encounter between Amy Cooper, which was recorded by Christian Cooper, went viral and drew attention, including from Amy Cooper’s employer, Franklin Templeton. The investment management company released a statement over the weekend noting that it does not “condone racism of any kind” and signaling that Amy Cooper had been placed on administrative leave.
According to NBC New York, the incident started when Christian Cooper asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog while in the Ramble, a popular spot for birders in Central Park.
Christian Cooper recorded part of the incident, which was posted to Twitter by his sister. Amy Cooper is seen asking Christian Cooper to stop recording her or she would call the cops and tell them that there’s “an African-American man threatening my life.”
She then followed through with that threat, repeating the phrase several times, escalating the distress in her voice to the point where she sounded as if she was in tears.
Christian Cooper, an avid bird-watcher, told NBC New York that he only asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog as was required in that particular area.
“If the habitat is destroyed we won’t be able to go there to see the birds, to enjoy the plantings,” he said.
He told the station that he refused to be intimidated by Amy Cooper’s antics.
“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,” he added.
He stopped recording when she finally put the dog on the leash.
However, in addition to the backlash of the racist call, Amy Cooper was also facing scrutiny for perceived animal cruelty as she held on to her dog by the collar as the animal struggled, seemingly choking it for nearly a minute.
The rescue from which Amy Cooper had adopted the dog said that she ‘voluntarily surrendered” the animal, as the incident is being looked into.
Amy Cooper for her part told NBC that her behavior was “unacceptable” and is now offering apologies.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she said. “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 added.
This story has been updated to reflect the company’s response.