By Frederick H. Lowe
Franklin Templeton, the New York investment firm, on Tuesday fired Amy Cooper, head of insurance investment solutions, after she called the police and lied to them about being threatened by a black man in New York’s Central Park. The man asked her to put a leash on her dog which park regulations required dog owners to do.
“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday [Monday], we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company said in a statement.
Franklin Templeton did not name the employee but BlackmansStreet.Today learned that her name was Amy Cooper.
Christian Cooper, 57, a Harvard University graduate, and an avid bird watcher, noticed Amy Cooper’s dog tearing through the plantings of an area of Central Park called Ramble.
“Ma’am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on leash at all times. The sign is right there,” Mr. Cooper told Amy Cooper.
At some point, Mr. Cooper began to film Amy Cooper, a graduate of the University of Chicago, with his mobile phone. She can be seen on the film visibly angry, approaching Mr. Cooper, waving the leash and pointing a finger in his face, demanding he not film her.
She then pulled something from this country’s racist playbook, which historically has worked. It involves a white woman claiming she is being threatened by a black man. Police rush to the scene with their guns blazing and the man ends up dead.
Amy Cooper then is seen and heard on the phone calling the police and telling them that an African American man is threatening her. “I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper is heard saying in the video. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
Christian Cooper said as he was filming he was thinking about Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was murdered while jogging by three white men in Georgia. The men believed he was a burglar, although no burglaries had been reported.
The video of the Central Park incident was posted on Facebook and went viral on Monday. Christian Cooper recorded a video of their encounter and posted it on social media where it has since been by 38 million people.
In the video, he is largely silent while Amy Cooper frantically tells police that she and her dog are being threatened.
In comments to CNN as the video spread widely, Amy Cooper said she wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wasn’t having it. “She was breaking the law, but she called the police on him,” de Blasio said.
She dipped into her bag containing “some of my best friends are black.”
“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she claims, adding that she also didn’t mean any harm to the African American community.
Then she claimed Christian Cooper, who is gay, scared her.
As lone white woman in Central Park, Amy Cooper added that she was frightened of Christian Cooper although the video shows her angrily approaching him.
She surrendered her dog to the shelter where she adopted him years earlier until the dispute is addressed, according to a Facebook post.