Black birdwatcher accepts apology of white woman after Central Park dog dispute

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Thursday, May 28, 2020
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The woman at the center of the Central Park dog incident caught on camera has been fired, her employer confirmed on Tuesday.

CENTRAL PARK (WABC) -- The black man who recorded a disturbing confrontation with a white woman in Central Park this week has accepted her apology.

Christian Cooper told "The View" he accepts Amy Cooper's apology, but he believes the incident is part of a much deeper problem of racism in America that must be addressed.

"I do accept her apology," Christian said. "I think it's a first step. I think she's gotta do some reflection on what happened because up until the moment when she made that statement ... it was just a conflict between a birder and a dog walker, and then she took it to a very dark place. I think she's gotta sort of examine why and how that happened."

Christian was birdwatching on Monday when he asked Amy to put her dog on a leash because it is against the rules in the Ramble, a secluded section of Central Park popular with birdwatchers, for dogs to be off leash.

In a Facebook post, he claimed the dog was "tearing through the plantings" and told her she should go to another part of the park. When she refused, he pulled out dog treats, causing her to scream at him to not come near her dog.

He pulled out his phone and started recording Amy calling the police to report she was being threatened by "an African-American man."

The widely watched video posted on social media sparked accusations of racism and led to Amy getting fired from her job and surrendering her dog.

Amy Cooper released an apology through a public relations service Tuesday night, saying she "reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions."

"He had every right to request that I leash my dog in an area where it was required," she said in the written statement. "I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris."

New York City's Commission on Human Rights launched an investigation into the verbal dispute.

The commission has sent a letter of inquiry to the woman involved, requesting her cooperation in a pre-complaint intervention, the first step in its investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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