‘Central Park Karen’ wins back dog she choked during viral racist rage – and it’s the definition of white privilege
Amy Cooper, who choked her dog on camera as she called the police on a queer Black man, has been given her dog back by the animal shelter and pretty much nobody is happy about it.
A dispute over a dog in Central Park is a typical kind of dust-up in New York City, but when Amy called the police against birder Christian Cooper on May 25, it curdled into a weekslong debate over racism that folded into the Black Lives Matter protests at large.
While on the phone to the operator, spitting the words “African-American”, her now-leashed dog thrashed around as it was choked by the collar. Amy’s calculated act of racial profiling drew intense denouncement – including from her employer – leading to her losing her job as well as her dog.
But on June 4, Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue announced on Facebook that shelter owners will be returning Amy’s cocker spaniel, Henry, to her at her request.
It immediately stirred criticism online as a short-order example of white privilege, culminating in a 4,100 signature-strong petition for the attention of governor Andrew Cuomo to have the dog returned and rehomed.
Pretty sure choking your dog and getting it back a week later is an A1 example of white privilege. pic.twitter.com/Jmql5As9t9
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) June 4, 2020
Rescue shelter: ‘We have now complied with the owner’s request for return of the dog.’
“Abandoned Angels would like to express its gratitude for the outpouring of support regarding the dog that was recently placed in our custody, following release of a troubling video that was brought to our attention,” the rescue centre said.
“The dog was promptly evaluated by our veterinarian, who found that he was in good health.
“We have coordinated with the appropriate New York City law enforcement agencies, which have declined to examine the dog or take it into their custody.
“Accordingly, and consistent with input received from law enforcement, we have now complied with the owner’s request for return of the dog.”
Amy Cooper has dog returned to her, and everyone’s reaction is a resounding: ‘Of course she did.’
The news stung many online, no doubt heightened by the ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations dotting the entire world, as users, tinged by exhaustion, expressed their lack of surprise.
Welp, #AmyCooper got her dog back because of course she did. ??♀️
Hope what we saw in that video was the first & last time that pupper was treated like that but I have a hunch that it wasn’t and it isn’t. ? https://t.co/o3T7vZaIbK
— Tiya Sircar (@tiyasircar) June 4, 2020
Of course she did. ? https://t.co/hz6J8yDZhQ
— Debra Messing✍? (@DebraMessing) June 4, 2020
She got the dog back. Of course, she did. https://t.co/jLQbyA64n2
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) June 4, 2020
Amy, who now has a potential anti-racist “false 911 accusations” bill named after her, was walking her dog in the Ramble – a secluded section of Central Park – when she was politely asked by Christian to restrain her unleashed dog as the rules required.
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She refused. Taking a turn, Christian began filming as Amy, clenching her dog, pulled out her mobile to call the police, telling the operator an “African-American” was “threatening her”, her voice jerking to horror-movie pitches.
It came to be viewed by many as a textbook example of implicit racial biases, in how people are all subject to conditioned prejudices, the acquisition of which is often beyond our control.