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Viral Video Shows White Woman In Central Park Call 911 On Black Man After Asking Her To Leash Her Dog – CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News) – A video has gone viral and a woman has been put on leave from her job at a mutual fund firm after a confrontation in Central Park in which a black man asked her to follow the rules and keep her dog on a leash – to which she phoned police and reported he was threatening her life.

The sister of the man who filmed the confrontation, Melody Cooper, posted her brother began filming when the encounter in The Rambles began to escalate.

“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,” posted Cooper.

In the video, the man filming the woman asks her not to approach him. She threatens to call police and say a black man is threatening her, which she does as he continues to film her.

“I’m sorry, I’m in The Ramble, and there’s a man – an African-American with a bicycle helmet – he is recording me, and threatening me and my dog.” The video doesn’t show the man threatening the woman.

She is also seen on the video restraining her dog, a Cocker Spaniel, by its collar rather than leashing it.

On Tuesday, the woman told CNN she wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone.”

“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she told CNN.

New York City officials were not quick to forgive.

“The video out of Central Park is racism, plain and simple,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio on Twitter. “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.”

“Filling a false police report is a crime. Being racist is reprehensible. There needs to be accountability for this. Disgusting,” posted Mark Levine, whose district covers the Upper West Side, Washington Heights and West Harlem near the section of Central Park where the encounter took place.

“This apology is totally inadequate,” said Levine. “Reflects no acknowledgment that she made a false accusation nor that she was attempting to weaponize the race of Mr. Cooper.”

The Central Park Civic Association also responded, issuing a statement asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to impose a lifetime Central Park ban on the woman “for her deliberate, racial misleading of law enforcement and violating behavioral guidelines set so that all can enjoy our city’s most famous park.”

After the video went across social media, her employer, Franklin Templeton, issued the following statement: “We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind,” said Franklin Templeton in a statement. “While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave.”

CBS News reports they reached out to Franklin Templeton to confirm the tweet is about the viral video. In addition to being placed on leave, the woman reportedly also “voluntarily surrendered” her dog to the rescue she adopted it from.

In a Facebook post, Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. wrote that “the owner has voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue while this matter is being addressed.”

As for the man who filmed the woman, his sister said in a follow-up tweet that he is safe. The New York City Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information issued a statement noting that “police were called to the Central Park Ramble for a report of an assault.”

“Upon arrival, police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute. There were no arrests or summonses issued,” the DCPI stated.

Cooper posted a follow-up tweet Monday evening: “My brother & I are so grateful for your concern! He is fine and left to continue birding after she leashed the dog, as he politely requested. I wanted folks to know what happened to make sure it never happens again from her. All she had to do was put her poor dog on the leash.”

Since being posted, Cooper’s initial share of her brother’s video of the incident has been watched online more than 22 million times.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CBS Interactive contributed to this report.)

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