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The white woman who called the police on a black man who asked her dog on a leash in Central Park on Monday has apologized after she was suspended from her job at an investment company.
Amy Cooper, who told police “there’s an African American man threatening my life,” spoke to CNN on Monday Night to “publicly apologize to everyone” for her actions. The video of her encounter with Christian Cooper (no relation), which he filmed, was viewed tens of millions of times on social media on Monday.
“I'm not a racist,” Cooper said. “I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” adding that she also didn't mean any harm to the African American community.
Ms. Cooper, who has been suspended from her job and made to give her dog back to the shelter where she recently adopted it, said her "entire life is being destroyed right now.”
When asked why she did what she did, Cooper said: "I think I was just scared. When you're alone in the Ramble, you don't know what's happening. It's not excusable, it's not defensible.”
When asked why he filmed the encounter, Christian Cooper cited the recent murder of Ahmaud Arbery.
“I videotaped it because I thought it was important to document things," Christian Cooper said. “Unfortunately we live in an era with things like Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are seen as targets. This woman thought she could exploit that to her advantage, and I wasn't having it."
The incident happened just before 8 a.m. on Monday morning in a part of Central Park known as the Ramble, where the park’s website says it was mandatory to have your dog on a leash.
Christian Cooper was bird-watching at the time and asked Amy Cooper to put her dog on a leash. She refused, saying the dog needed exercise.
Christian Cooper then says he told her, “if you're going to do what you want, I'm going to do what I want, but you're not going to like it.”
Then, he tried to entice the dog to come to him by offering it dog treats, but when he did, the woman grabbed the dog and threatened to call the police.
At that point, Christian Cooper began filming the exchange. He shared the video on Facebook and his sister posted a copy of the video on Twitter, where it has been viewed 19 million times.
The police said they responded to the call and have investigated the matter but could find no evidence that a crime was committed.
Amy Cooper’s employer, the investment company Franklin Templeton, said in a statement Monday that it had placed her on administrative leave.
Cooper has also given back her dog to the shelter where she adopted it just last week. "The dog is now in our rescue's care and he is safe and in good health," Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue said in a Facebook post.
Christian Cooper told CNN he would accept her apology “if it was genuine” and if she “plans on keeping her dog on a leash in the Ramble going forward, then we have no issues with each other."
Cover: Twitter/Melody Cooper
This article originally appeared on VICE US.