Amy Cooper, the white woman who called the police on a black man birdwatching in the park, is suing her former employer for race and gender discrimination. After the incident gained national attention, Cooper was fired from her job and temporarily surrendered her dog.

A year ago, at 7:30 a,m., Amy Cooper was filmed calling the police on Christian Cooper (no relation) after he asked her to put a leash on her dog, something that is a requirement in the Ramble area of Central Park. Amy Cooper, who was nicknamed “Central Park Karen,” refused to abide by this rule and dialed 911. She told the operator, “There’s an African American man threatening my life.”

The video soon went viral as an example of the everyday racism that black people in the U.S. face. Christian Cooper later told CBS This Morning, “I don’t know whether she’s a racist or not. I don’t know her life. I don’t know how she lives it. That act was unmistakably racist even if she didn’t realize it in the moment.”

Amy Cooper later made a statement apologizing for the incident, saying she acted
“emotionally” and under “false assumptions.” She said, “He had every right to request that I leash my dog in an area where it was required. I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris.”

Cooper’s former employer, investment firm Franklin Templeton, said that it does not “tolerate racism of any kind.”

In addition to gender and race discrimination, Cooper alleges that the company did not fully investigate the incident. The federal lawsuit says, “Franklin Templeton’s alleged investigation and results provided legitimacy to the ‘Karen’ story, and appeared to provide justification for those who sought the destruction of the Plaintiff’s life.”

The complaint demands compensation for Cooper, who “suffered substantial loss of earnings and benefits and endured severe emotional distress, and will continue to do so in the future.” The lawsuit requests a jury trial.

The suit also claims, “Even a perfunctory investigation would have shown that Plaintiff did not shout at Christian Cooper or call the police from Central Park on May 25, 2020 because she is a racist — she did these things because she was alone in the park and frightened to death after being selected as the next target of Christian Cooper, an overzealous birdwatcher engaged in Central Park’s ongoing feud between birdwatchers and dog owners.”

However, Franklin Templeton defended their decision to fire Amy Cooper. “We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately,” the company said in a statement. “We will defend against these baseless claims.”

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