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Woman who was fired for calling police on Black birdwatcher in Central Park sues former employer

Amy Cooper
Posted at 8:20 AM, May 27, 2021

NEW YORK — The white woman who was widely condemned and fired after a videotaped dispute with a Black man in Central Park over an unleashed dog last summer has filed a lawsuit against her former employer.

Amy Cooper is accusing Franklin Templeton of not doing an investigation before terminating her because of her race and gender.

Cooper also said in her lawsuit that race did not play a role in her call to police. Instead, she said she made the call out of fear for her safety and added in her lawsuit that the company would have agreed with her had it conducted a proper investigation.

The lawsuit also alleges that a proper investigation would have been conducted if she were not a white woman.

Franklin Templeton called Cooper's claims "baseless."

"We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately," spokesperson Stacey Coleman said in an emailed statement to CNN. "We will defend against these baseless claims."

Last May, Cooper was walking her dog unleashed in Central Park when a Black man who was bird watching asked if she would comply with park rules and put the dog on a leash. The conversation quickly escalated, and the man began recording Cooper as she called the police to tell them that she feared for her life.

In addition to being fired, Cooper also briefly faced criminal charges for falsely reporting an incident. The Manhattan District Attorney dropped those charges in February.

The video was just one in a series of viral incidents last summer that featured white people calling the police on people of color that sparked harsh reactions online. Those incidents took place amid a racial reckoning prompted by the death of George Floyd and months of protest against systemic racism and police brutality.