A white New York woman, Amy Cooper, walked her dog in Central Park on Monday morning. She encountered a black man by the name of Christian Cooper (no relation) who took issue with her off-leash dog. Video of their confrontation went viral. The problem is that the video only shows the tail end of their confrontation and not what led up to it.
A lot Happened Before The Video Rolled
Christian Cooper gave his own written account of the incident on his Facebook page, where the original video was posted. He was most likely bird-watching in the area of the park called “the Ramble.” Christian informed Amy that dogs are not allowed off-leash in that area. He says that her dog was tearing up plantings there.
Amy protests against her dog being on-leash, because all the dog runs she normally uses are closed and her dog needs the exercise. Christian informs her to take the dog to an area outside of the Ramble. She objects and says that the area is too dangerous. At this point, there is a clear argument, maybe even an impasse.
According to Christian, he then says “Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.” She reportedly said “what’s that?” He then says “come here, puppy!” Amy obviously does not want the dog to come to the person she was just having an argument with and allegedly says “he won’t come to you.” Christian says “we’ll see about that” and then pulls out some dog treats in an attempt to lure the dog in his direction.
It’s not quite clear what Christian’s intentions were. He could have simply tried to prove a point about her dog being off-leash. Or maybe he wanted to kidnap the dog or simply move it to another location. Amy was obviously not thrilled and reportedly said: “don’t touch my dog!”
Police Are Summoned
At this point is when the now-viral video started recording. Amy threatens to call the police. Christian says, “go ahead and call them, tell them whatever you like!” She calls the police and says that an African-American man is recording her, threatening herself and her dog.
When police arrived to the scene, both Amy and Christian were gone.
Reactions poured in from all over the internet. Most of the immediate reactions were very sympathetic to the African-American man filming. This could be because of the unknown backstory. Amy Cooper was suspended from her job, surrendered the pup back to the shelter from which she adopted it, and apologized to Christian Cooper for the incident taking place.
Who’s To Blame For This?
An opinion here is that both sides are wrong. Christian Cooper was correct to inform Amy of the park’s rule about dogs requiring a leash. He was incorrect to try and lure the dog in his direction after they had already been arguing. Maybe his motives were not malicious, but maybe they were. Amy would presumably have a difficult time understanding where his head space was.
Amy also shares blame due to her over-reaction. She was correct to call the police if she felt that would be best her safety. She was wrong to lie and say that Christian threatened her and her dog. She just felt threatened. There is a big difference. She also brought up his race, possibly thinking that they would be heavy-handed with him or that he would be afraid of the police.
This whole incident could have been totally avoided. If the virus did not shut down the dog runs, she would have used those instead of the park where leashes aren’t allowed. If she used a leash, then Christian would not have bothered her. If he does not ask her to leash the dog and then take it to the next level and attempt to lure her dog, then she doesn’t overreact.