Gayle King found herself speechless on Tuesday as she and her fellow CBS This Morning anchors discussed a viral video of a New York woman calling police on a black man in Central Park.
The morning show team had previously been discussing a developing case in Minneapolis, where an unidentified man has died after a disturbing video shows a police officer kneeling on his neck—despite protests from him and onlookers that he could not breathe. Although King stopped short of crying on air, her voice broke at times as she said, “I don’t even know what to do or how to handle this at this particular time... I am speechless.”
In the CBS This Morning clip, first reported by Variety, King first responds to the clip of the New York woman by saying, “Once again, I say thank goodness that there’s video tape. You know, I think as a daughter of a black man and a mother of a black man, this is really too much for me today. I’m still rattled by the last story.”
King noted that the woman in the video, who has been identified as Amy Cooper, was “practically strangling her dog” as she yelled at the man filming her, named Christian Cooper, for asking her to put her dog on a leash in an area where leashes are required. Video shows Amy Cooper calling police and claiming that a black man was threatening her life in the park, while Christian Cooper calmly films from a distance.
Since the video surfaced, Cooper has been put on administrative leave by her employers pending an investigation; in a public apology provided to CNN, she said, “I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way... I think I was just scared. When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don't know what’s happening. It’s not excusable, it’s not defensible.”
Covering the video Tuesday, King continued, “I’m so sorry. I’m still so upset by that last story where the man is handcuffed underneath a car, where people are pleading, ‘Please he can’t breathe,’ and we’re watching a man die. So we go from that story now to this story where she falsely accuses a black man on television.”
“I am really, really speechless about what we are seeing on television this morning,” King added. “It feels to me like open season, and that it’s just not sometimes a safe place to be in this country for black men. And today is too much for me.”
Speaking with CNN about the incident, Christian Cooper said, “I videotaped it because I thought it was important to document things. Unfortunately we live in an era with things like Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are seen as targets. This woman thought she could exploit that to her advantage, and I wasn’t having it.”