We all remember Barbecue Becky, Permit Patty, and the string of other viral videos of white people who have placed non-emergency calls to 911 in hopes of intimidating African Americans. Amy Cooper, AKA Central Park Karen, is another Caucasian woman we can add to the list.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Amy Cooper was walking her unleashed dog in New York’s Central Park when she was approached by Christian Cooper, an African American male who had asked Amy to put her dog on a leash. Christian says their encounter escalated from there, and luckily, he was able to record their interaction.
Amy responded by not only threatening to call police but actually calling to report what she claimed was an emergency, begging the dispatcher to send the police immediately. Instead of feeling her dog was a threat to the park, Amy felt Christian threatened her power. And instead of being respectful to what Christian and park rules asked, she chose to risk Christian’s life by involving the police. Given the current racial climate and recent events, it has been proven how risky this could be for an African American man. The fact that she sneered when she told Christian she would tell authorities “there’s an African American man threatening my life” proves her awareness of the injustice that could have resulted and her privilege of being white.
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm
— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
ABC News reported Wednesday that New York’s City’s Commission on Human Rights announced the launch of their investigation of Monday’s incident and sent a letter to Amy asking for her cooperation.
“At a time when the devastating impacts of racism in Black communities have been made so painfully clear — from racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes to harassment of essential workers on the front lines — it is appalling to see these types of ugly threats directed at one New Yorker by another,” said Sapna V. Raj, Deputy Commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights. “Efforts to intimidate Black people by threatening to call law enforcement draw on a long, violent, and painful history, and they are unacceptable.”
The commission has the authority to fine violators and can award compensatory damages to victims, including emotional distress damages and other benefits. It can also order training on the NYC Human Rights Law, changes to policies, and develop restorative justice relief such as community, instead of or in addition to fines and monetary relief.
“The Central Park Civic Association condemns this behavior and is calling on Mayor de Blasio to impose a lifetime ban on this lady for her deliberate, racial misleading of law enforcement and violating behavioral guidelines set so that all can enjoy our city’s most famous park,” Association president Michael Fischer said.
The video has sparked public outrage and comes ahead of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Minneapolis black man who was killed by police. It also follows close behind the brutal beating of DarQuan Jones and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Each incident shares the same common denominator, black males. People have virally voiced their concerns of the injustice on African Americans that has been happening for years, claiming the only difference now is that their cruelty is being recorded and going viral.
Amy Cooper has since lost her job at the investment firm Franklin Templeton and the park’s civic association has requested she be banned from the park. According to CNN, Amy told CNN she wanted to apologize to everyone publicly. Christian acknowledged her apology as sincere, but said: “her act was definitely racist.”
African Americans are tired of demanding the equality that we deserve, that if given would possibly prevent having to fight for the justice we deserve in senseless circumstances like these.