‘I’m not going to just be quiet’: Ex-dog walkers of white woman who called cops on black man in Central Park share why they outed her
Amy Cooper, the white woman who called police on Christian Cooper, a black man, in Central Park after he asked her to leash her dog has been set loose from her finance job.
When a viral video of a white woman calling cops on a black man “threatening” her in Central Park swept across social media Monday, two New York City dog walkers immediately recognized the main players in the racially-charged altercation — the woman, and her pooch.
As fast as the video spread — from Facebook and Twitter into the media — so too did the demand for the name of the woman who tried to get cops to arrest the avid birdwatcher moments after he’d asked her to put her dog on a leash.
Lindsey Cork, 31, and Kyle Stover, 30, knew her identity: Amy Cooper, of the Upper West Side. But would giving it up be the right thing to do?
Stover, who used to walk Cooper’s dog, Henry, and saw the video first, reached out to Cork, who had also walked Henry in the past.
Together, they made a decision.
“She helped me realize that we kind of need to call people out on these actions and speak out about this to show that New York does not stand for this kind of action,” Stover told the Daily News Tuesday.
“We’ve seen so many videos of people being shot or killed for less, and that’s terrifying, and like (Amy Cooper) either doesn’t understand the weight of her actions or words or she does, both of which are terrible,” he said.
For Cork, there was no doubt about what was the right thing to do — even knowing that it would bring swift and harsh reaction to Cooper, who was fired from her job as a vice president at Franklin Templeton Investments on Tuesday.
“If I know a person doing this, and I can identify them, I’m not going to just be quiet. I can’t. It’s against any kind of ethics I have,” said Cork, who outed Cooper on social media.
It was even more personal to Cork because her boyfriend of the last three years, Charles Grant, is black.
“This is not to be taken lightly,” Cork, who is white, told The News.
“When you look at a black person in a situation like that and say, ‘I’m going to call the police and tell them a black man is threatening me,’ at the end of the day, the message is, ‘You’re inconveniencing me or upsetting me, so I’m going to put your life at risk,’” she said.
Grant, a 28-year-old filmmaker, praised Cork for her willingness to get involved.
“Without a name, this might have been another story we were just forced to swallow," he said after discussing the incident at length with Cork on their new cultural commentary podcast Jug O’ Sip. "This woman endangered a man’s life with a false call to 911.”
Amy Cooper’s brutal fall from grace started with a chance encounter with dedicated birder Christian Cooper in Central Park.
According to Christian, a former editor at Marvel Comics who filmed part of their encounter, he asked Amy to leash her dog and then offered Henry a treat when she refused, hoping it would cause her to reconsider. Instead, Amy grabbed her dog and angrily demand Christian turn off his phone.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” Amy says in the video, after telling Christian she was calling cops.
“I’m in the Ramble, and there’s a man, African American,” she tells the operator, her voice rising with hysteria as Henry thrashes around to free himself from a seeming choke hold on his collar.
“I’m being threatened,” she starts to yell. “Please send the cops immediately!”
Posted by Christian’s sister Melody, the video had more than 30 million views on Twitter alone as of Tuesday afternoon.
Amy later released a public apology, but she also whined to CNN that her “entire life is being destroyed right now.”
Hours later, she was fired from her high-powered job at 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. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company said in a statement.
Cork said she never heard Amy say anything racist during their interactions but believes her conduct on the video warrants a criminal investigation.
“She was a little weird,” Cork said. “I just thought she was kind of quirky or neurotic.”
Attempts to reach Amy Cooper were not successful Tuesday.
It wasn’t clear if Amy could be charged with anything under current law, but there’s a bill being considered in Albany that would make filing a false report with a racial component a hate crime.
Sen. Brian Benjamin (D-Harlem) introduced the measure, also sponsored by Assemblyman Feliz Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), on Tuesday.
“It scares me to think what response this man could have received from the NYPD if he didn’t have a video recording,” Benjamin told The News. “We need to send a message loud and clear that if you falsely put someone’s life at risk you will end up facing very serious consequences.”
Meanwhile, Central Park South Civic Association President Michael Fischer has called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to impose a lifetime ban on Amy Cooper using the park.
“This disgusting display of intolerance is unacceptable and should never, ever be accepted in the city’s public domain like Central Park,” Fischer said in a statement.
Henry, the adorable dog seen struggling to free himself in the video, is no longer in Amy’s care.
She “voluntarily surrendered” him Monday night, Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue said.