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May 26, 2020, 11:44 a.m. EDT

Franklin Templeton worker placed on leave after viral altercation in Central Park

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By Kenneth Garger

Getty Images
A view of Gapstow Bridge in Central Park.

UPDATE: Franklin Templeton fired Amy Cooper on Tuesday afternoon.

The investment company that employs a white woman who went viral after calling the police on a black man in Central Park in Manhattan on Monday has placed her on administrative leave.

“We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind,” read a statement from Franklin Templeton. “While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave.”

The woman in the video was identified in reports as Amy Cooper. A screen shot of her LinkedIn account that was shared on Twitter identified her as the head of insurance investment solutions at Franklin Templeton.

Cooper later apologized for the incident in a phone interview with the local NBC affiliate in New York and in an appearance on CNN.

“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she told the channel. “It was unacceptable, and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended … everyone who thinks of me in a lower light, and I understand why they do.”

The man who could be heard in the video, Christian Cooper, said he asked Amy Cooper to put the dog on a leash, and when she didn’t he offered the pet a treat, hoping she’d restrain the dog to keep it from consuming a stranger’s offered treat.

“The only way they can keep the dog from eating the treat is to put it on a leash,” he told the NBC station, explaining later to CNN that he carries treats with him for that reason. “At some point, she decided, I’m going to play the race card, I guess.”

Amy Cooper told the network she felt threatened because she was unaware what the dog treats were made of.

She is shown on the video, tweeted by Christian Cooper’s sister, telling the 911 operator, “There is an African American man. He is recording me and threatening my dog.”

“I think I was just scared,” she told CNN of her actions, as she reiterated her apology on the news channel. “When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening. It’s not excusable. It’s not defensible.”

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

She added, “[My] entire life is being destroyed right now.”

Social-media users accused Amy Cooper of animal cruelty in addition to her behavior toward Christian Cooper, as she was seen in the video grabbing and dragging the struggling dog by a neck harness.

Later Monday, Cooper had allegedly returned her adopted pet to a local animal shelter.

“As of this evening, the owner has voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue while this matter is being addressed,” Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue said in a statement.

“The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health,” the group said.

The shelter also did not publicly identify the woman or link her to the Central Park incident. A request for comment from the group wasn’t immediately returned.

Amy Cooper did not return phone calls from the New York Post.

A version of this report appears at NYPost.com.

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