A white woman called the police and accused a Black man of threatening her and her dog in New York City’s Central Park, as seen in now-viral footage posted to social media on Monday. The man said the confrontation began when he asked her to put her dog on a leash.
The footage was published on Facebook by the man, Christian Cooper, and on Twitter by his sister, Melody Cooper. The video was viewed on Twitter more than 10 million times by late Monday night and sparked widespread outrage.
It begins with the dog walker dragging her dog by the collar toward the man and demanding that he stop filming.
“Please don’t come close to me,” the man is heard repeatedly saying as she approaches.
She asks him to stop filming several times and then threatens to call the police. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she says.
“Please tell them whatever you like,” he responds.
Then, on her phone, the dog walker says: “I’m in the Ramble and there is a man ― African American, he has a bicycle helmet ― he is recording me and threatening me and my dog.”
A New York Police Department spokesperson said the NYPD were called to the Central Park Ramble for a report of an assault just after 8 a.m. Monday. On arrival, they determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute. There was no crime and no arrests, the spokesperson said.
According to the Central Park website, dogs must be leashed at all times in the Ramble. The woman is also seen repeatedly dragging her struggling dog by its collar during the video and later attaches the leash.
Melody Cooper said her brother is an avid birder and had politely requested that the woman put her dog on a leash, in accordance with signs in the park. Christian Cooper said the dog was “tearing through the plantings in the Ramble” when he asked the woman to leash her pet.
Melody Cooper said she was grateful for the concern she and her brother received on social media.
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