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NY Woman Fired After Calling Police on Black Man Who Asked Her to Leash Her Dog

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  • When a black man asked a white woman to leash her dog in an area of Central Park where she was required to do so, she refused.
  • She then called the police, claiming that an African American man was threatening her life. 
  • Viral video of the exchange led to backlash against the woman, who was fired from her job.
  • She also returned her pet to an adoption shelter after criticism over how she cares for the animal.

What Happened Before the Viral Video 

A woman in New York was fired from job Tuesday after a viral video showed her calling the police on a black man who asked her to put her dog on a leash.

The footage spread across social media Monday and caused a flood of outrage; however, more information about what exactly lead up the exchange has been shared by both parties involved.

Let’s take a look at all of those claims before jumping into the video itself. 

The incident happened in Central Park early Monday when a man by the name of Christian Cooper was out bird watching. Christian said he approached the woman after he noticed her dog running free in the Ramble, an area full of thick greenery that attracts over 200 bird species.

In a Facebook post that he made about their exchange, Christian said he told her, “Ma’am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there.”

The dog owner has since been identified as Amy Cooper (no relation to Christian Cooper). According to his post, she allegedly told him that dog runs are closed and her pet needed exercise.

After he noted that she could take the dog outside the Ramble to run free, she refused. Then he allegedly said, “Look, 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.”

Amy told CNN, “I didn’t know what that meant. When you’re alone in a wooded area, that’s absolutely terrifying, right?”

She also said he came out of a bush and was screaming at her, but Christian says he was “actually pretty calm.” 

At this point, Christian says he pulled out some dog treats that he keeps on him to get owners to leash their pets. He said he finds that owners hate when strangers feed their dogs, which usually prompts them to leash their animals afterward. 

Amy told CNN that Christian was throwing the treats at her dog, but Christian said he never even had a chance to. This is apparently when he started recording the incident on his phone.

He attached that video to his Facebook post and his sister shared on Twitter, where it spread like wildfire. 

The Viral Video 

The video starts with Amy asking Christian to stop recording. She begins to approach him while pulling her dog by its collar and Christian says “please don’t come close to me.”

“Sir, I’m asking you to stop recording me,” she says.

“Please don’t come close to me,” he replies as she raises her hand in the air towards him. She then tells him that she’s calling the cops and he encourages her to do so.

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she says.

“Please tell them whatever you like,” he responds. 

The woman begins to back away while on her phone, still pulling her dog along by its collar as it tries to break free from her hold.

“I’m sorry. I’m in the Ramble and there is a man, African American, he has a bicycle helmet. He is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” she says. 

She repeats her claim again as the dog yelps and tries harder to break free. 

At this point, she seems a bit out of breath after trying to restrain her dog, and she shouts a much more desperate plea to the person on the other end of the call.

“I’m sorry,” she says as she finally leashes her dog. “I can’t hear clear either. I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble! Please send the cops immediately!” 

“Thank you,” Christian says as he ends the recording.

Police eventually responded to the call, and a New York Police Department spokesperson said they determined the two had “engaged in a verbal dispute.” No arrests were made and no summonses were issued. 

Christian Cooper Speaks Out 

The video prompted a ton of outrage from people calling Amy a racist and demanding consequence since she was the one knowingly breaking rules.

Others were frustrated by her claim that Christain was threatening her life, especially given the history of unjust treatment black people have faced at the hands of police and civilians. 

This morning, even NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio called her behavior, “racism, plain and simple.” 

Christian later explained his actions to NBC News saying, “If the habitat is destroyed we won’t be able to go there to see the birds, to enjoy the plantings.”

He made a similar comment to CNN, adding, “People spend a lot of money and time planting in those areas as well. Nothing grows in a dog run for a reason.”

As far as why he decided to record the incident, he said he thought to himself, “I’m not going to participate in my own dehumanization. I’m not going to feed into this.”

“We live in an age of Ahmaud Arbery where black men are gunned down because of assumptions people make about black men, black people, and I’m just not going to participate in that,” he added.

Amy Cooper Faces Consequences 

While Christian has been met with a ton of support online, Amy told CNN that her “entire life is being destroyed right now.” 

Her employer, the investment management company Franklin Templeton, eventually caught wind of what happened. They issued a statement on Monday saying they do not condone racism, adding that Amy was placed on administrated leave.

By Tuesday morning, the company said it decided to terminate her effective immediately.

On top of that, Amy faced a slew of criticism for how she treated her dog in the video. Then people starting digging into her past and allegedly found other instances of her dog suffering injuries through unrelated incidents. 

Then late Monday, the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue issued a statement saying that Amy had “voluntarily surrendered the dog” back into its care after adopting it a few years ago. The rescue center also stressed that the dog was safe and in good health.

Amy Apologizes 

As far as apologizes go, Amy told CNN that she wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone.”

She told the outlet, “I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” and added that she also didn’t mean any harm to the African American community.

That apology was met with backlash from people like City Councilman Mark Levine. He called her response “totally inadequate,” and said it, “Reflects no acknowledgment that she made a false accusation nor that she was attempting to weaponize the race of Mr. Cooper.”

However, this isn’t the only apology Amy gave. She also issued another statement to NBC News saying: “I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family. 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.” 

“When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury.”

When CNN asked Christian if he accepts her apology and he said, “…if it’s 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.”

Though Christian might be willing to move forward, plenty of people online have continued to go after Amy and are not satisfied with the repercussions she’s faced so far.  

See what others are saying: (NBC New York) (Pix 11) (CNN

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College Board Changes AP African American Studies After Backlash From DeSantis Amid Education Culture War

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As requested by DeSantis, the College Board removed lessons on contemporary topics including Black Lives Matter, queer studies, and reparations.


College Board Rolls Out Curriculum

The College Board, which oversees Advanced Placement high school courses, announced an official curriculum framework for its new, landmark Advanced Placement African American studies on Wednesday.

The announcement, made on the first day of Black History Month, has faced scrutiny for seeming to scale back a number of relevant subjects that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other state education officials had criticized.

In January, DeSantis said that the new course would be banned in Florida unless changes were made, arguing that a draft version of the course was “woke.” 

Education officials claimed that the class, which had been in the making for nearly a decade, violated a recent state law dubbed the Stop WOKE Act. The legislation regulates public school instruction on race by banning critical race theory and any education that describes some groups as oppressed and others as privileged based on race or sex.

Democrats denounced DeSantis’ action as a political stunt and urged the College Board to maintain its principles.

According to reports, many historical topics like slavery largely remain intact from the previous draft. However, important contemporary issues like Black Lives Matter, affirmative action, queer studies, reparations, and intersectionality — all of which Florida leaders objected to — were removed from curriculum requirements and are no longer part of the AP exam.

Instead, those areas of study have been downgraded to be part of a list of options students can pursue for a mandatory research project. The College Board also added a new research project idea to that list that will certainly please the right: “Black conservatism.”

It has additionally been reported that the organization pulled names of multiple Black authors the state education officials had flagged as problematic, including many famous and pioneering Black scholars who wrote about critical race theory, the queer experience, and Black feminism. 

The College Board defended itself against criticism in a press release announcing the changes, claiming that the process of developing the framework “has operated independently from political pressure.”

DeSantis’ Ongoing Culture War

DeSantis’ attempts to influence the national curriculum of an AP course are just his latest in a much broader effort to control what is and is not taught in public schools.

Just one day before the College Board announced the revised course, the governor outlined what The New York Times described as “his most aggressive swing yet at the education establishment.”

Specifically, he proposed a massive overhaul to higher education in the state that would defund and eliminate diversity and equity programs, mandate courses on Western civilization, and reduce tenure protections that are essential to ensure professors have freedom of expression.

Furthermore, the effects of another law DeSantis signed last year are now just beginning to materialize. The policy, which went into effect this July, requires every school book to be age-appropriate, “free of pornography,” and “suited to student needs.” 

To follow those guidelines, school books have to be approved by a certified media specialist who has undergone specific training.

Notably, the law also states that teachers can be charged with third-degree felonies if they “knowingly or unknowingly” give students access to a book that the specialists say is harmful — meaning that they could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Last month, the state education department clarified that the rule does not just apply to school libraries, but also to any books a teacher keeps in their classroom too. 

Multiple outlets reported this week that records they obtained show at least two school districts have now directed teachers to either remove their books or hide them until review to avoid the possibility of going to jail.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (The Associated Press)

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Biden Announces Plan to End COVID Emergency in May

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The decision would drastically change the government’s long-standing pandemic response and shift Americans’ access to COVID-related services.


Emergency Declarations at an End

In a statement Monday, The White House announced that it would be ending the COVID national emergency and public health emergency declarations on May 11.

The move will entirely restructure the federal government’s response to the pandemic to treat it as endemic and upend policies that have been in place for the last three years. Although more than 500 people in the U.S. are still dying from COVID on average each day — which is around two times the number of daily deaths during a bad flu season — life has largely returned to normal.

Most Americans are vaccinated, and even President Joe Biden himself said the pandemic was “over” back in September. The new announcement comes in part as a response to resolutions Republicans brought to the House floor last week that would end the declarations immediately.

“An abrupt end to the emergency declarations would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty throughout the health care system — for states, for hospitals and doctors’ offices, and, most importantly, for tens of millions of Americans,” the White House argued.

Lapses in Coverage and Care

Federal officials decided that a phase-out would make more sense because the U.S. has come to rely on several systems and benefits under the emergencies.

One of the most significant changes that will have the biggest impact on Americans in their day-to-day lives is access to COVID tests, treatments, and vaccines that have been free throughout the pandemic.

Once the emergencies end, a very complex wave of changes will take place that differs from person to person depending on their insurance — or lack thereof — and even possibly what state they live in.

Currently, people with private health insurance or Medicare coverage have been allowed eight free COVID tests a month and insurers had to cover those tests, even if they were administered out of network.

Once the emergency ends, some Americans will have to pay out of pocket, as well as for antiviral COVID treatments like Paxlovid. 

Notably, it has been reported that vaccines will still be included for all those people covered by both private and public insurance. That, however, may not be the case for those without insurance — a group that is also more likely to be the most affected by rising costs for tests and treatments.

Jen Kates, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told The Washington Post that when the emergency declarations end, states that opted to provide Medicaid coverage for tests, treatments, and shots will lose the federal funds that matched costs at 100%.

“To me, that’s the biggest issue for the general public to think about,” she said. “The uninsured and underinsured have no guaranteed access to covid vaccines, tests or treatments.”

When it comes to vaccines, those costs could be significant. Moderna and Pfizer have both said they might charge as much as $130 per dose of vaccine once the federal government stops paying and the shots are transitioned to the private market. That figure is nearly quadruple what federal offices have paid for the doses.

The shift to the private market could happen fairly soon, especially because Republicans have refused Biden’s request that they put billions of dollars towards additional free COVID testing and shots to extend those efforts.

There could also be a spike in the number of uninsured or underinsured Americans because the $1.7 trillion spending bill passed last year ends a rule that banned states from kicking people off Medicaid, leaving millions at risk of losing coverage.

Other Possible Outcomes

Ending the declarations could also set up a battle around immigration because the Biden administration has said the move will bring an end to Title 42 — the Trump-era public health measure that placed restrictions on border crossings and other migrant policies.

Biden has previously tried to cut the program, but the Supreme Court kept it in place. House Republicans rejected the White House’s claim that the program would be terminated, arguing it is not tied to the public health emergency.

Beyond that, the termination of the declarations would require health providers to make numerous adjustments because many of the flexibilities they were allowed in a number of areas would be cut. 

As a result, the administration says a phase-out of those policies over the next few months is necessary, arguing that hospitals and nursing homes “will be plunged into chaos” if they are cut immediately. House Republicans, however, are insistent on moving forward their legislation that would do just that, though the Democratic-controlled Senate could block their proposals.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Washington Post) (The Associated Press)

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Conservatives are Mad at “Woke” Xbox for Minor Climate-Related Updates

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The fury comes after Xbox announced it was slightly altering existing consoles to better utilize and save energy.


Same War, New Battlefield

Mere days after M&M canceled their “spokescandies” due to backlash from the right, led largely by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, conservatives have found a new front for their ongoing culture war: Xbox.

Carlson spent months complaining that small character redesigns were “woke” because they made the animated anthropomorphized M&M’s — in his own words — “less sexy.” His campaign finally proved successful on Monday when the company announced it would be doing away with the spokescandies and replacing them with actress Maya Rudolph.

Conservatives, now facing a sudden dearth of non-issues to complain about, quickly found a new issue to rage against. Xbox announced in a blog post earlier this month that it is making minor updates to lower its environmental impact as part of an effort to reach Microsoft’s goal of being carbon-negative by 2030.

Now, instead of having an Xbox wake up to update games, apps, and software during random times of the night, it will do that at a time of night when a user’s local energy grid is generating the most power it can from renewable sources. 

Xbox also said it would automatically update some older consoles to a power-saving mode that aims to reduce electricity consumption when it is turned off — a feature that is already the default on newer consoles.

According to The Verge, the only difference for users is that an Xbox in power-saving mode takes around 15 seconds to boot up instead of doing so immediately as the console does in “sleep” mode. The change is a small price to pay for what the outlet described as “significant” energy savings.

Xbox Under Fire

To many leading conservative voices, the minimal shifts were just another example of “woke” culture. 

While discussing M&M’s spokescandies Tuesday morning, “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt brought up Xbox’s new changes with Fox radio host Jimmy Failla.

“So Xbox has also announced that they’re going woke too, you know, because of climate change,” Earhardt said.

“I mean, it’s crazy what they’re doing, but we understand what this is. It’s not that it’s actually going to offset emissions, okay — the level of reduction is infinitesimal,”  Failla claimed, without evidence. “But they’re trying to recruit your kids into climate politics at an earlier age; make them climate conscious now.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think of that — you’re right, they’re going after the children,” Earhardt agreed, despite the fact that internal data from Microsoft shows just around 10% of Xbox owners are under the age of 18.

Other prominent conservatives also did their part to bait Americans into anger on social media, including America’s Foundation, which posted a tweet stating that “the woke brigade is after video games.”

The post linked an article from the right-wing website TheBlaze, which asserted that “Xbox will force gamers to power down to fight climate change.”  That, however, is false — Xbox has said users can switch back and change the settings any time they want

Still, top lawmakers continued to share the article and spread its false claims, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.).

“First gas stoves, then your coffee, now they’re gunning for your Xbox,” he wrote in the post, which was flagged by Twitter and given an “added context” warning.

The same warning, however, was not placed in a very similar post by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Tx.), who also shared the article.

“They want to take your guns. They want to take your gas stoves. And now they want to take your Xbox. What’s next?” he wrote.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The Daily Beast) (VICE)

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