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‘Is she a racist? I can’t answer that’: Christian Cooper responds to Central Park confrontation

An image from a video provided by Christian Cooper showed Amy Cooper with her dog calling police at Central Park in New York.Christian Cooper/Associated Press

In an interview with Don Lemon on CNN, Christian Cooper addressed the confrontation at Central Park in which he recorded a white woman calling police to report she was being threatened by “an African-American man," following Cooper’s request that she leashed her dog.

“I’m trying to stay calm and level-headed,” Cooper said of the incident involving Amy Cooper, whom he is not related to. “It sort of exploded. In the age that we live in, in COVID world, something like this becomes bigger news than it otherwise might be.” According to Cooper, he recorded the woman because he and others are trying to document “the scofflaw behavior of people who refuse to put their dogs on leash when asked," especially in protected areas.


Cooper said he’s dealing with a lot of messaging surrounding the incident and was told the woman is too, some of which include death threats.

“That is inappropriate and should stop immediately,” Cooper said. “I find it strange that the people who were upset, and rightly, that she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head. Where’s the logic in that? Where does any of that make sense?”

Cooper said he thought the woman’s apology, which was released Tuesday night through a public relations service, was sincere.

In the statement, Amy Cooper said 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. 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," the statement said.

Christian Cooper recognized it was a stressful situation, and “maybe a moment of spectacularly poor judgement," but he emphasized “she went there.”


“Is she a racist? I can’t answer that," Cooper said. “Only she can answer that. And the only way she can answer that is by going forward.”

Lemon said Amy Cooper had been invited to appear on the show alongside Christian but did not respond.

Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.