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Woman Fired From Job After Viral Video Shows Her Calling Police On A Black Man After He Asked Her To Leash Her Dog

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” Amy Cooper can be heard telling birdwatcher Christian Cooper in a viral video before she makes the call to 911. 

By Jill Sederstrom

Update: Amy Cooper has been fired from her job at Franklin Templeton after an internal review, the company announced on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. "We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton," the company wrote.

Original story continues below.

A woman has been suspended from her job after a viral video showed her calling the police on a black man after he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park.

The viral video, which Christian Cooper posted to his Facebook page shortly after the incident, shows the woman later identified as Amy Cooper calling police and repeatedly claiming that Christian Cooper is “threatening me and my dog” before she breaks down in hysterics and pleads for the police to come to the wooded area of the park known as The Ramble.

“I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble,” she said. “Please send the cops immediately!”

Christian Cooper said on social media that he had been in the Ramble Sunday morning to go birdwatching when he saw a woman’s dog “tearing through the plantings” and asked her to put her dog on a leash.

Dogs are required to be on a leash at all times in that area of the park, according to the park’s website.

However, Christian Cooper said Amy Cooper refused to put her dog on the leash and told him instead that the dog needed his exercise and that the dog runs were closed.

Christian Cooper later told CNN it's important to avid bird watchers like himself that dogs are leashed in the area because they can go to the area to see “ground-dwelling” birds.

“People spend a lot of money and time planting in those areas as well,” he said. “Nothing grows in a dog run for a reason.”

Christian Cooper said on social media that after Amy Cooper refused to put her dog on a leash he told her, “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.”

Then he took out a treat bag in an attempt to give the dog a treat. He later told CNN he has found that most dog owners don’t want him to give their dogs food and that by offering the treat it usually forces the owner to leash their dog.

Amy Cooper told the news outlet, however, that Christian Cooper had come out of a bush and began screaming at her. She said she was scared by his comment that he would do what he wanted and she felt intimated.

“I didn’t know what that meant,” she told CNN. “When you’re alone in a wooded area, that’s absolutely terrifying, right?”

She said he began to throw the dog treats at her dog.

Christian Cooper has denied that he was screaming at Amy Cooper and described himself as “pretty calm” throughout the ordeal. He also denied throwing the dog treats.

Shortly after he offered the treats, Christian Cooper began to film their encounter and Amy Cooper can be seen in the video approaching him as she holds her dog from its harness.

In the video, which was also posted on Twitter by Christian Cooper's sister, Amy Cooper can be heard asking Christian Cooper to stop filming. She tells him she plans to take a picture and call 911.

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she says.

Christian Cooper responds by saying, “Please tell them whatever you like.”

Moments later, Amy Cooper is seen on the phone with police reporting that there is an African American man with a bicycle helmet threatening her.

“He is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” she says.

She then becomes visibly distraught and begs for police to come.

It does not appear in the video that Christian Cooper — who cannot be seen in the frame — ever moves closer to her.

Throughout the video, Amy Cooper is also seen visibly struggling with her dog. She repeatedly pulls him up from a harness around his neck — sometimes pulling his front feet off the ground as he squirms.

At the end of the video, she clips the dog onto his leash and Christian Cooper can be heard saying “thank you” before he stops filming.

The New York City Police responded to the scene but did not find either party in the area and no arrests were made, according to CNN.

However, the video has sparked intense backlash on social media and resulted in Amy Cooper’s employer, Franklin Templeton, issuing a statement on Twitter  initially saying she had been placed on leave from the company.

“We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind,” it wrote. “While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave.” The company later announced on Tuesday she had been "terminated effective immediately" following an internal review.

Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. the rescue group where Amy Cooper had adopted the dog a few years earlier, also posted a message on Facebook saying that “the owner has voluntarily surrendered the dog in question.”

“The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health,” it wrote.

As the backlash surrounding the incident continues to grow, Amy Cooper told local station WNBC that she was sorry for her actions.

"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.”

She also said that she has been “blessed” to view police as a protection agency and now realizes that “there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury.”

Amy Cooper told CNN her “entire life is being destroyed right now” after the video went viral.

Christian Cooper told WNBC he decided to record the video because he didn’t want to “participate in my own dehumanization” and wasn’t going to be intimidated by the incident.

“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 told the station.  

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