Woman who falsely accused Black bird watcher sues ex-employer

Christian Cooper recorded Amy Cooper in the park

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

"We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately", spokesperson Stacey Coleman said in an emailed statement.

Christian Cooper, a writer, editor and LGBTQ rights activist, informed her that dogs in that area had to remain on the leash.

Amy Cooper, the white woman who went viral in May 2020 for calling the cops on a Black man after he asked her to put her dog on a leash in Central Park, is now suing her former employer for racial discrimination.

The dispute occurred after Christian Cooper asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog, which was off-leash in a part of the park known as the Ramble where that is not allowed.

"I am one of the few male African-Americans who birds the Ramble regularly", Mr Cooper told The New York Times at the time.

"When I think about the police, I'm such a blessed person. And I understand why they do", she said.

The video has been seen on Twitter more than 45 million times.

The former portfolio manager alleges that Franklin Templeton "performed no investigation" into the incident, did not interview her or Christian Cooper, and made no attempt at obtaining her full 911 call.

"It was Christian Cooper's practice and intent to cause dog owners to be fearful for their safety and the safety of their dogs, and he had a history of doing so to people, including to one African American man who wrote national media stating: when I saw that video, I thought, I can not imagine if he approached [Plaintiff] the same way how she may have genuinely been afraid for her life, '" the suit stated, referencing comments made by in Cooper's defense by pet owner Jerome Lockett. "We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton".

Although Franklin Templeton didn't name Amy Cooper in its statements, she claims in her lawsuit that she was so well known by this point that the company's decision effectively labeled her a racist "with reckless disregard for the destruction of Plaintiff's life in the process". She had been accused of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office in February dropped a misdemeanor charge against Cooper after she completed education and therapy classes on racial equity.

The complaint filed Tuesday to the Southern District of NY alleges that "even a perfunctory investigation" would have shown that Amy Cooper did not shout at Christian Cooper "because she was a racist", but because "she was alone in the park and frightened to death". "S$3 he did these things because she was alone in the park and frightened to death after being selected as the next target of [Christian], an overzealous birdwatcher engaged in Central Park's ongoing feud between birdwatchers and dog owners".

Amy Cooper called 911 and said in an increasingly frantic tone that a Black man was threatening her, according to video of the incident he filmed.

Amy Cooper's filing also includes a statement given by a man named Jerome Lockett who said he had a previous interaction with Christian Cooper over his dog being unleashed.

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

Following the incident, Ms Cooper apologized, though then as now, she downplayed the racist dynamics at play in the incident.

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