Anger as white woman reports black birdwatcher in Central Park to police

Amy Coooper was captured on video on Monday calling the police on a man who says he asked her to put her dog on a leash in New York’s Central Park. (Screengrab)
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Updated 26 May 2020

Anger as white woman reports black birdwatcher in Central Park to police

  • Amy Cooper: There is an African-American man, I’m in Central Park. He’s recording me and threatening me and threatening my dog
  • New York City mayor Bill de Blasio condemned her actions as racism, plain and simple

NEW YORK: A video of a white woman calling the police about a black birdwatcher in New York’s Central Park has gone viral, sparking anger about African-Americans being falsely reported to cops.
The clip, posted on Twitter and viewed 30 million times, was filmed by the man, Christian Cooper, who said he had asked the woman to leash her dog.
She was walking the pooch on Monday in a wooded area of the park popular with birdwatchers where dogs are meant to be kept on leads.
As the woman struggles to control the dog, she approaches Cooper and is then seen making a phone call.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life,” she tells Cooper while appearing to dial 911.
“There is an African-American man, I’m in Central Park. He’s recording me and threatening me and threatening my dog,” she then tells the operator.
The exchange prompted outrage on social media, with users calling the woman a “Karen,” a term popular online to describe an entitled white woman.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio condemned her actions as “racism, plain and simple.”
“She called the police BECAUSE he was a Black man. Even though she was the one breaking the rules. She decided he was the criminal and we know why. This kind of hatred has no place in our city,” he tweeted.
The woman was identified as Amy Cooper, no relation to the man she argued with. She worked in insurance at investment management company Franklin Templeton.
She apologized during an interview with NBC but denied that she was racist, saying she had overreacted after feeling threatened.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she said.
In a statement posted on Twitter Tuesday, Franklin Templeton said it had fired an employee with immediate effect following an investigation.
“We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company said.
On Facebook, Christian Cooper said he had offered the dog a treat after the woman refused his request to leash the dog.
“That’s when I started video recording with my iPhone, and when her inner Karen fully emerged and took a dark turn,” he wrote.


Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

Updated 12 July 2020

Over 200,000 vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries

  • Exercise being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory

HONG KONG: Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.
The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.
Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.
Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.
The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.
To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.
On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.