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NYC Birder Calls 'Central Park Karen' Encounter 'Unmistakably Racist' In New Interview

"She basically … pulled the pin on the race grenade and tried to lob it at me," Christian Cooper told "CBS This Morning."

By Connor Mannion
Christian Cooper

The black New York City birder who filmed his confrontation with a white woman who called the cops on him for asking her to put a leash on her dog is speaking out in a new interview.

Christian Cooper, a Harvard-educated editor and board member of the New York City Audubon, was bird-watching in Central Park's Ramble area in late May when he encountered Amy Cooper (no relation), who was walking her dog without a leash in violation of park rules, according to the park’s website.

"I said, 'Excuse me, ma'am, but dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times'... And she said, 'Well, the dog runs are closed,'" Christian Cooper recounted to CBS anchor Gayle King in an interview on "CBS This Morning."

As the confrontation grew heated, Christian pulled out his phone and began recording Amy.  Amy then threatened to call the police on Christian, making explicit reference to his race. 

"She basically … pulled the pin on the race grenade and tried to lob it at me," Christian said.

Amy Cooper Ap

"There is an African American man, I am in Central Park, he is recording me and threatening myself and my dog," Amy can be heard telling police in Christian's video of the incident

By the time police arrived at the scene, both parties had left and no arrests were made, according to CNN.

"She was going to tap into a deep, deep dark vein of racism, of racial bias that runs through this country … and has for centuries," Christian told King.

Following the release of the video, Amy received widespread condemnation and was fired from her finance job at investment firm Franklin Templeton.

“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately,” the organization tweeted in May. “We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”

Amy also briefly lost custody of her dog but the pet has since been returned to her care. She has made several public apologies for her actions in the days that followed the video’s release.

"I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family," she told local New York station WNBC. "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 it comes to his thoughts now about Amy, Christian told "CBS This Morning," "I don't know whether she's a racist or not. I don't know her life. I don't know how she lives it. That act was unmistakably racist even if she didn't realize it in the moment ... I'm not sure someone's life should be defined by 60 seconds of poor judgment."