Woman fired over 'racist' Central Park confrontation sues former employer

Woman fired over 'racist' Central Park confrontation sues former employer

Amy Cooper, who went viral and became known as "Central Park Karen" previous year after she called NY police and falsely reported a Black birdwatcher was threatening her life, is suing her former employer, arguing they fired her without properly investigating the incident.

Lockett, who identified himself as a Black man, alleged in his statement that Christian Cooper yelled at a group of dog owners who had their pets unleashed and tried to call Lockett's dog to him.

In the Manhattan federal suit, Amy Cooper accuses her former employer, Franklin Templeton, of perpetuating her image as a "privileged white female "Karen" by making public statements that it had fired her after conducting an investigation into the incident. The man, a prominent birder and LGBTQ activist, said he asked her to put a leash on her dog in an area of New York's Central Park known as the Ramble, which requires dogs to be restrained.

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

Christian Cooper did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment on the lawsuit.

Amy Cooper's lawsuit states that said she did not call the police because she was racist, but "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".

"We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately", spokesperson Stacey Coleman said in an emailed statement. NBC News does not know what happened prior to the start of the recording, which was shared by Christian Cooper's sister.

Franklin Templeton characterized the lawsuit's claims as "baseless" in a statement Wednesday and plans to defend itself.

The incident, which occurred on the same day a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, struck a chord with many Americans, who viewed Ms Cooper's actions as part of a long history of racist paranoia from white people about Black men putting them in danger with the police. Hours after the video went online, Franklin Templeton posted a statement on Twitter condemning racism and saying she had been suspended while the firm investigated. It said it had completed an internal review and made a decision to terminate her, effective immediately.

The white woman who was recorded on video calling police to claim that a Black bird-watcher was threatening her in New York City's Central Park a year ago filed suit against her former employer, alleging that the company did not properly consider her fear for personal safety prior to firing her.

In July, Amy Cooper was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

"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.

Cooper alleges in Tuesday's suit that no such internal review took place.

Amy added that the consequences of the incident have left her in emotional distress as her "personal and professional life has been destroyed".

She is seeking "back pay and bonus, loss of unvested funds and other benefits, front pay or reinstatements, emotional distress damages, attorneys' fees and costs, and interest and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial".

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