Amy Cooper, the white woman filmed falsely accusing an African American birdwatcher of ‘threatening her life’ in Central Park has regained custody of her dog she was filmed hauling up by its neck in video of the incident.
Rescue group Abandoned Angels had temporarily gained custody of the cocker-spaniel, called Henry, from Cooper in the hours after her unhinged exchange with former Marvel Comics editor, Christian Cooper, went viral online.
Concern had been raised for Henry’s well-being, who appeared to be flailing around and trying to free himself from Cooper’s grasp throughout the video as she hauled him up by his neck harness.
Cooper later voluntarily surrendered the dog amid the backlash, Abandoned Angels said at the time.
But in an update shared to Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, the group, whom Cooper adopted Henry from, said their vets had determined the pooch was in good health and therefore law enforcement refused to seize the dog from Cooper.
‘Consistent with input received from law enforcement, we have now complied with the owner’s request for return of the dog,’ the group’s post read.
Abandoned Angels added that it wanted to ‘express gratitude for the outpouring of support regarding the dog that was recently placed in our custody, following release of a troubling video that was brought to our attention.’
Amy Cooper, the white woman caught falsely accusing an African American birdwatcher of ‘threatening her life’ to 911 dispatchers, has regained custody of her dog
Concern had been raised for the cocker-spaniel’s well-being, who appeared to be flailing around and trying to free itself from Cooper’s grasp throughout the video as she hauled the dog up by its neck harness
Harvard graduate Christian Cooper, 57, had been bird watching in an area of the park known as The Ramble over the Memorial Day weekend when he encountered Amy Cooper walked her dog unleashed, against park rules.
After pointing out to Cooper that dogs must be leashed in The Ramble at all times to protect wildlife habitats, she quickly became irate, with the 41-year-old hysterically dialing 911, wailing into her cell phone that ‘an African American man is threatening my life’.
In the hours that followed the video’s emergence, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio branded Cooper as ‘racist…pure and simple’ as outrage over the incident – commonly referred to as Central Park Karen – rippled out nationwide.
Cooper was terminated from her $170k-per-year role at as head of insurance investment solutions at Franklin Templeton shortly afterwards. A petition to ban her from Central Park for life also emerged, as did new legislation that would make falsely reporting an incident as a hate crime illegal, should it pass.
In a statement, Amy Cooper offered her sincere apologies to Christian Cooper, saying she ‘reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash.
‘I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris. ‘I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology.’
Cooper later voluntarily surrendered the dog after the footage went viral, the group said
Abandoned Angels, whom Cooper adopted Henry from, said that vets had determined the pooch was in good health and therefore law enforcement refused to take him into their custody
In a later statement to CNN, Cooper further elaborated, saying: ‘I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,’ she told the network. ‘I think I was just scared. When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening. It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.’
She said that since the video has sparked widespread outrage online, her ‘entire life is being destroyed right now’.
Last week, Christian told the panel of The View that he has accepted that apology but urged viewers to look at the bigger picture of racism that the encounter displayed.
‘I do accept her apology,’ Christian said. ‘I think it’s a first step. I think she’s gotta do some reflection on what happened because up until the moment when she made that statement.
‘It was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker, and then she took it to a very dark place. I think she’s gotta sort of examine why and how that happened.’
Christian said the reaction isn’t necessarily about Cooper, or her snap-second judgement, but about the ‘underlying current of racism and racial perceptions that’s been going on for centuries and that permeates this city and this country that she tapped into.’
‘That’s what we really have to address; not the specifics of her, but why are we still plagued with that and how do we fix it.’
When asked if he would accept Cooper’s apology, Christian, a senior biomedical editor at Health Science Communications, said ‘if it’s genuine and if she plans on keeping her dog on a leash in the Ramble going forward, then we have no issues with each other.’
Christian, a board member of the NYC Audubon Society, also doubled down on his previous urges asking the public to stop making death threats against Cooper.
‘If you think that what she did was wrong, that she was trying to bring death by cop down on my head, then there is absolutely no way you can justify then turning around and putting a death threat on her head,’ he said.
Cooper explained that he’s also ‘uncomfortable’ with judging Cooper solely on a ‘few seconds…over very poor judgement.’
‘[There’s] no excusing that it was a racist act because it was a racist act,’ he told the show. ‘But [does] that define her entire life? Only she can tell us if that defines her entire life by what she does going forward.’
Christian Cooper’s sister, Melody Cooper, a writer for HBO who also shared the video to social media, said that when she saw the footage, she thought ‘It’s personal’.
‘I just imagined what happened to Mike Brown or George Floyd happening to him, and I wanted to make sure no other black person would have to go through that kind of weaponization of racism from her,’ she said.
‘If the cops showed up, they wouldn’t have seen his resume or known his job,’ she said of her high-flying brother, who now works as a biomedical editor for Health Science Communications. ‘This kind of racism can kill people. It could’ve killed my brother.’