“CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King was visibly shaken on-air Tuesday after viewing footage of two racially charged incidents that occurred over the weekend. Video of the first, in which Amy Cooper, a white woman calls police falsely claiming that a black man, Christian Cooper, was threatening her life, went viral, sparking outrage on social media on Memorial Day Christian Cooper had asked her to leash her dog in an area of Central Park where dogs are required to be on leash.
In the video, Amy Cooper is seen telling police “there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Christian Cooper, who had been filming the incident on his phone, did not appear to make any threatening moves toward Amy Cooper. King also was upset about the way Amy Cooper was treating her dog as she struggled to hold on to the animal, yanking it by its collar.
The other video involved a case in Minneapolis in which a black man died following his arrest on suspicion of forgery. A portion of the video shows the man being held down by a police officer who is pressing his knee down on the man’s neck. The man can be heard telling police “I can’t breathe.” The man lost consciousness and later died.
CBS’ Vladimir Duthiers showed the Central Park video in his report, noting how “throughout American history there have been innumerable examples of African Americans falsely accused who have been imprisoned, shot, lynched.” He added that he “[shuddered] to think what would have happened had Mr. Cooper not been filming.”
“Once again I say thank goodness that there’s videotape,” said King after viewing the footage. “As the daughter of a black man and the mother of a black man, this is really too much for me today.”
“I’m still rattled by this last story and she’s practically strangling her dog to make these false accusations against another black man,” she continued, referencing the Minneapolis incident as well. “I’m still so upset by that last story where the man is handcuffed underneath a car where people are pleading he can’t breathe and we’re watching a man die.”
“So we go from that story to this story, where she falsely accuses a black man on television,” continued King. “I don’t even know what to do or how to handle this at this particular time. I know that this is … I am speechless. I am really, really speechless about what we’re seeing in television this morning. It feels to me like an open season and it’s not sometimes a safe place to be in this country for black men and today it’s too much for me.”
Amy Cooper told CNN Tuesday that she wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone.”
“I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she said, adding that she also didn’t mean any harm to the African American community. Her employer Franklin Templeton investment advisors has placed Cooper on leave pending an investigation.