A cellphone video has gone viral and is sparking widespread outrage after capturing a white dog owner calling 911 and claiming an African American birdwatcher who told her to keep her pet leashed was “threatening myself and my dog” in New York City’s Central Park.
The confrontation occurred on Memorial Day in a wooded area of the urban oasis known as the Ramble, a popular destination for wildlife fans looking to spot rare birds. By Tuesday morning the dog owner had returned her pet to the rescue shelter she adopted it from, was fired from her job at the Franklin Templeton investment firm, and issued an apology for her behavior in an interview with CNN.
“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately,” Franklin Templeton said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton.”
After viewing the viral video of the incident, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio described it in a Twitter post on Tuesday morning as “racism, plain and simple.”
“She called the police BECAUSE he was a Black man,” de Blasio tweeted. “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.”
Chris Cooper, 57, a member of the New York City Audubon Society board of directors, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday that he was walking through the Ramble looking for “incredibly gorgeous” rare birds when he sa