Christian Cooper, the black man who filmed a white woman calling the cops on him in Central Park, said he feels “uncomfortable” with the amount of backlash she’s received, including losing her job. In the incident Monday, Cooper asked the woman, Amy Cooper, to leash her dog in an area of the New York City park that required it, but she refused.
While he filmed the encounter, the woman — known as “Central Park Karen” on social media — calls the police and falsely accuses him of threatening her life. Chris Cooper said later that he just wanted the video to speak for itself.
“I wasn’t gonna participate in my own dehumanization and feed that, so I just kept recording,” he said in an interview.
When police arrived, they determined that the two Coopers (who are not related) engaged in a verbal dispute and no one was arrested or given a summons, according to an NYPD spokesperson.
Chris Cooper is an avid bird watcher and was in the Ramble section of Central Park, an area where dogs must be leashed in part to protect wildlife. He said their encounter on Memorial Day was “one of those instances where this dog was tearing through those plantings.”
After the incident, Amy Cooper was fired from her job at an investment firm and she surrendered her cocker spaniel to the animal rescue where she’d adopted it. Chris Cooper was overwhelmed by the response to the video, which went viral on Twitter after his sister posted it. However, the retribution in particular was troubling for him.
“It’s a little bit of a frenzy, and I am uncomfortable with that,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal.”
In an appearance on CNN, he said he considers the woman’s actions racist, but he urged people who were outraged by it to stay civil. He said death threats against her “should stop immediately.”
“I find it strange that people who were upset that … that she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head. Where is the logic in that?” he said. “Where does that make any kind of sense?”