Woman who was fired amid accusations of racism says she had no choice but to call 911
Amy Cooper, who appeared in this week’s episode of “Honestly with Bari Weiss”, alleged that Christian Cooper (unrelated), had threatened her during the encounter in Central Park in May last year, the New York Post reported.
She was seen in a viral video telling Mr Cooper that she would tell the police “there’s an African-American man threatening my life”, after he asked her to leash her dog in a protected area of the park, the Ramble.
Ms Cooper told the podcast, which was released on Tuesday, that she did not “know that as a woman alone in a park that I had another option”, but to call 911 because Mr Cooper said he was going to do something she was not “going to like” because she refused to leash her dog.
According to his own account of what happened at the time – that turned out to be offering her unleashed dog, treats. Ms Cooper confirmed that was what happened next, in the podcast.
“I’m trying to figure out, you know, what does that mean? Is that a physical attack on me? Is that to my dog? Like, what is he about to do?,” she told the former Ms Weiss, a former Wall Street Journal review editor, opinion writer, and podcast host.
Ms Cooper continued: “I’m thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, is this guy like going to like lure my dog over and try to like hit him with this bike helmet?’”
The bird watcher, Mr Cooper, did not attack Ms Cooper or her dog, but started videoing the encounter when she refused to put her dog on a leash.
He added on Facebook: “I pull out the dog treats I carry for just for such intransigence. I didn’t even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog.”
Police eventually arrived at the park, and there were no arrests. She was later charged for filing a false police report, after she was accused of racism and the video went viral. She was also fired by her employer.
She added in the “Honestly with Bari Weiss” podcast that she was traumatised following the incident and that she wanted to tell the bird watcher that she was “scared” during the encounter.
The incident, according to Mr Cooper, was the the starting point for last year’s anti-racism movement and later protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police.