'Central Park Karen' Sues Former Employer for Racial Discrimination

A video showing a white woman calling New York City police alleging that a black man was threatening her in Central Park after he asked her to put her dog on a leash has gone viral

Amy Cooper, who was sacked last May after she was videotaped calling police on a Black birdwatcher in New York City's Central Park, is suing her former employer, claiming it did not adequately investigate the incident.

In addition to being fired, Ms Cooper's action caused the rescue society where she adopted her dog to reclaim it, after the pet can be seen thrashing uncomfortable on the leash as a frantic Ms Cooper drags it across a lawn while she calls with police.

"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 was 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", it alleges.

Ms Cooper lodged her complaint in a federal court in NY on Tuesday, arguing the public backlash against her interaction with Christian Cooper (unrelated), and her firing the next day from investment firm Franklin Templeton, "caused her such severe emotional distress that she was suicidal". Christian Cooper, an avid birdwatcher, was in a wooded area of the park at around 7:30 a.m., when he saw Amy Cooper's dog unleashed and running around.

A white woman who had falsely accused a Black man of threatening her is now suing her employer for dismissing her from the job.

"The Defendants knew that they had not performed an investigation into the May 25, 2020 incident in Central Park involving Plaintiff, but nevertheless published statements that they had", Cooper alleges in her suit. Following Cooper's termination, Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson told Fortune Magazine that the company executives "espouse zero tolerance for racism".

Christian Cooper had already refused to take part in her prosecution at that time, saying in a Washington Post article: "I think it's a mistake to focus on this one individual".

"We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves", the statement said. "We will defend against these baseless claims".

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The encounter escalated, with Amy Cooper warning him that she would call police and tell them there was an African American man threatening her life.

The suit notes that Franklin Templeton did not interview Amy, or the birdwatcher, during its investigation into the incident.

"I'm taking a picture and calling the cops", she says in video of the incident.

"Ms. Cooper's therapist reported that it was a moving experience and that Ms. Cooper learned a lot in their sessions together, " a prosecutor told the judge at the time. She alleged her former employer instigated it by announcing to "millions of people" that their investigation "determined indisputably that Plaintiff was a racist, and that due to the results of their legitimate investigation, the Plaintiff's employment with the Defendants was terminated".

As a result, the complaint alleges, Amy Cooper "suffered substantial loss of earnings and benefits and endured severe emotional distress, and will continue to do so in the future".

She was also charged with a misdemeanor count of making a false report in the third degree over the incident.

In the lawsuit, Amy Cooper demanded that the company compensate her for lost wages, emotional distress, attorneys fees and punitive damages, among others.

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