The white woman who falsely accused a Black birdwatcher in Central Park of threatening her is suing her ex-employer.
Amy Cooper went viral on Memorial Day weekend last year, after footage emerged of her phoning 911 to say an ‘African American man’ was threatening her and her dog, after Christian Cooper had requested she put a leash on her pet.
Ms Cooper was later charged with a third-degree misdemeanour crime of falsely reporting an incident, which carries a possible one-year prison sentence. However, the charge was recently dropped, and she’s now filed a lawsuit against former employer Franklin Templeton for firing her without a proper investigation and falsely portraying her as a racist.
As reported by Reuters, Ms Cooper’s complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, May 25, claims her ‘personal and professional life has been destroyed by the knowingly false statements defendants made’, causing severe emotional stress to the point of feeling suicidal.
She says her employer didn’t perform any investigation into the incident after it spread on social media, ignoring how she’d called the police because she was ‘palpably distraught and fearful of her safety’.
Ms Cooper, who was formerly an insurance portfolio manager, is seeking unspecified damages for race and gender discrimination, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
In a statement, Franklin Templeton said her claims were ‘baseless’, adding, ‘We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately.’
In the earlier footage, Ms Cooper can be seen crying on the phone to the police, claiming Mr Cooper had ‘tried to assault her’, despite him doing no such thing. Mr Cooper, an avid birdwatcher, had asked only asked her to place the dog on a lead in accordance with the rules in The Bramble, a semi-wild area of the park.
Following the controversy, Ms Cooper completed education and therapy classes as part of a restorative justice programme, ‘designed not just to punish but to educate and promote community healing’, and was offered as an alternative to a traditional prosecution ‘given the issues at hand and Ms. Cooper’s lack of criminal background’, as per CNN.
In a previous statement, Mr Cooper also said: ‘On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price. That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on… so if the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges. But he can do that without me.’
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