White woman who called police on black man in Central Park dispute gets dog back

CENTRAL PARK (WABC) -- The white woman at the center of a controversy for calling police on a black man in Central Park has gotten her dog back.

Christian Cooper was birdwatching earlier this month when he asked Amy Cooper 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.

However, on Wednesday, the group that took the dog announced that it was returned to Amy after an evaluation from a veterinarian and a coordinated effort with law enforcement.

The group made the announcement on its Facebook page:

"Abandoned Angels would like to express its gratitude for the outpouring of support regarding the dog that was recently placed in our custody, following release of a troubling video that was brought to our attention. The dog was promptly evaluated by our veterinarian, who found that he was in good health. We have coordinated with the appropriate New York City law enforcement agencies, which have declined to examine the dog or take it into their custody. Accordingly, and consistent with input received from law enforcement, we have now complied with the owner's request for return of the dog."

Amy Cooper released an apology through a public relations service after the initial incident, 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."

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."

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

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Kemberly Richardson has more on the investigation into the Central Park confrontation that went viral.



The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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