#BirdwatchingwhileBlack victim Christian Cooper appeared on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Tuesday to speak out after a video of a white woman calling the cops on him went viral.
Cooper expressed that he did not know if Amy Cooper was a bigot, but he was sure that her actions were “definitely racist.”
As unexpected as that sounds, over the Memorial Day weekend, Christian could have been locked up or worse because Amy called 911 on him — fabricating a threat on her life.
Thankfully, Christian videotaped the entire incident on his phone.
The footage of the incident has now gone viral. History has shown that, usually, a distress call from a white woman regarding a Black man can end in his death. African Americans can look to Emmett Till, the Scottsboro Boys, Central Park 5, and more as evidence.
Yet Christian, a Harvard graduate, does not seem to want her actions to dominate the conversation or skew his sense of humanity toward the person who lied on him.
He told CNN’s Don Lemon, “While she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist. And the fact that, that was her recourse at that moment—granted, it was a stressful situation, a sudden situation—you know, maybe a moment of spectacularly poor judgment. But she went there and had this racist act that she did.”
Her employer, the prestigious Franklin Templeton, has fired her and she apparently is getting death threats.
Christian notes in another interview with the NPR that anyone wishing harm on her life is operating from an illogical place.
“I am told there has been death threats and that is wholly inappropriate and abhorrent and should stop immediately,” Christian shared with the NPR. “I find it strange that people who were upset that … 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 is the logic in that?”
While Amy has apologized, as of Wednesday, the NYC Commission on Human Rights said it is investigating the incident.
“At a time when the devastating impacts of racism in Black communities have been made so painfully clear—from racial disparities in COVID-19 outcomes to harassment of essential workers on the frontlines—it is appalling to see these types of ugly threats directed at one New Yorker by another,” said Sapna Raj, deputy commissioner of the Law Enforcement Bureau at the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
“Efforts to intimidate black people by threatening to call law enforcement draw on a long, violent, and painful history, and they are unacceptable,” he concluded.
The NYC Commission on Human Rights has the authority to fine people who violate the law and can award damages to victims, including for emotional distress.