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Amy Cooper sues former employer after calling 911 on Black man

▶ Watch Video: Christian Cooper on Amy Cooper’s phone call to police: “Pulled the pin on the race grenade”

Amy Cooper, the White woman who went viral last year for calling 911 to claim that a Black birdwatcher in Central Park was threatening her, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer. She temporarily surrendered her dog and was fired from her job shortly after the incident. 

Amy Cooper, nicknamed “Central Park Karen,” filed a federal complaint against investment firm Franklin Templeton on Tuesday, alleging both racial and gender discrimination in her termination. She also alleges the company did not properly investigate the incident, failing to take her personal safety into account before firing her and labeling her a racist. 

“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 lawsuit says, despite the firm not naming Cooper in its statements. 

The complaint alleges Cooper “suffered substantial loss of earnings and benefits and endured severe emotional distress, and will continue to do so in the future.”

The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, requests a jury trial. Cooper demands the company compensate her for lost wages, emotional distress, attorneys fees and punitive damages, among other things. 

“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,” the suit claims. 

Franklin Templeton is defending its decision to fire Cooper. 

In a statement Thursday, the company told CBS News, “We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately. We will defend against these baseless claims.”

The day after the incident, Cooper apologized for reacting “emotionally” and making “false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately.” 

Exactly one year ago, Cooper garnered notoriety when she was filmed calling the police on avid birdwatcher Christian Cooper (no relation) after he asked her to leash her dog, a requirement in the Ramble area of Central Park. She refused and called 911 around 7:30 a.m., telling them “there’s an African American man threatening my life.” 

The video of the exchange became one of the many to represent the routine racism that Black people in the U.S. face in their daily lives. 

“I don’t know whether she’s a racist or not,” Christian Cooper told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King last year. “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 faced criminal charges after the incident, which were dropped after she completed therapy sessions. Her former employer said at the time that it does not “tolerate racism of any kind.”

Shortly after the incident, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bundle of police reform bills that included criminal penalties for false, racially motivated 911 calls. 


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