‘I’m Not Going to Participate in My Own Dehumanization’
Christian Cooper recorded a white woman in Central Park Monday morning threatening to call police on him “because he wasn’t going to be intimidated,” NBC News reports.
Christian is Black. The woman he recorded, Amy Cooper is white.
In his video that has gone viral on social media she can be heard threatening to call the police. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”
On the video she repeats her threat several times, and then appears to make the call, sounding increasingly distressed despite Christian apparently being far away from her. In fact, at one point before she calls she approaches him and he responds, “Please don’t come close to me.”
On the phone, Amy says, “There’s a man, an African-American, he’s recording and threatening me and my dog.”
“There is an African-American man in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog,” she continues.
“I am being threatened by a man in the bramble!” she says, shouting, incorrectly referring to the portion of Central Park known as The Ramble. “Please send the police immediately!”
Christian, who is a birder, “says he only asked Amy to put her dog on the leash in the area where it’s required to have your dog on a leash at all times.”
“If the habitat is destroyed we won’t be able to go there to see the birds, to enjoy the plantings,” Christian told NBC. He offered Amy’s dog a treat in an effort to get her to leash the dog. “The only way they can keep the dog from eating the treat is to put it on a leash.”
“At some point, she decided, ‘I’m gonna play the race card,’ I guess,” he said.
And he says he started recording because he refused to be intimidated by Amy.
“I’m not going to participate in my own dehumanization. I’m not going to feed into this,” he said. “We live in an age of Ahmaud Arbery where black men are gunned down because of assumptions people make about black men, black people, and I’m just not going to participate in that.”
Once Amy leashed her dog Christian thanked her and stopped recording.
On social media “Amy Cooper” trended, with many accusing her of engaging in racism and intentionally threatening Christian’s life. Many were also concerned about how she handled her dog. In the video she grabbed him by the collar and he appeared to be struggling or choking for nearly a minute.
There are countless examples of police shooting to death Black people, mostly Black men, often for no apparent reason, and often after someone calls 911.
Amy, who has been placed on administrative leave by her employer in response to her handling of the incident, offered an apology.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she told NBC. “It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended…everyone who thinks of me in a lower light and I understand why they do.”
“When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury.”
She has also voluntarily surrendered her dog to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, which says: “The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health.”
Police have called the incident a “verbal dispute” and made no arrest.
Christian is being called a hero on social media.