Amy Cooper, the white woman dubbed “Central Park Karen” and shown in viral video trying to weaponize police against a Black bird-watcher last Memorial Day in Central Park in New York City, New York, has avoided accountability on nearly every front. She avoided jail time after being charged with falsely reporting an incident by participating in a “restorative justice” counseling program. The man she called police on, Christian Cooper, decided not to aid in the investigation against her. And now Amy Cooper, who was fired from her job leading insurance portfolio management at the investment firm Franklin Templeton the day after her encounter with Christian Cooper, has summoned the audacity to file a lawsuit against her former employer. In it, she accuses the company of failing to investigate the dispute between her and Christian Cooper.
“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,” Amy Cooper’s attorney Matthew Litt said in the lawsuit initially reported by New York Daily News. In the suit filed on Tuesday in Manhattan’s federal court, Litt alleged his client was the target of racial discrimination. Litt called Christian Cooper “an overzealous birdwatcher engaged in Central Park’s ongoing feud between birdwatchers and dog owners.”
Franklin Templeton said in a statement CNN obtained: “We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately. We will defend against these baseless claims.”
Millions of social media users shared the video Christian Cooper shot of his encounter with Amy after asking her to put her dog on a leash, in keeping with park rules. In the video, Amy can be seen calling the police while saying: “I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.” When she reached a dispatcher, she said repeatedly: “He’s African American.”
Unbeknownst to Amy at the time, he’s also a Harvard graduate and science editor on the board of the New York City Audubon Society. Still, it’s Amy and not Christian who prosecutor Joan Illuzzi gushed over in court when the charge against the woman was dropped. “Having completed five sessions, Ms. Cooper’s therapist reported that it was a moving experience and that Ms. Cooper learned a lot in their sessions together,” Illuzzi said. That transformative lesson apparently was how to lie to escape culpability and assign it elsewhere.
This was Amy’s original statement:
“I want to apologize to Chris Cooper for my actions when I encountered him in Central Park yesterday. I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash. When Chris began offering treats to my dog and confronted me in an area where there was no one else nearby and said, “You’re not going to like what I’m going to do next,” I assumed we were being threatened when all he had intended to do was record our encounter on his phone. He had every right to request that I leash my dog in an area where it was required. I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris. I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology.”
In her lawsuit, however, Amy Cooper and her attorney alleged that she “did not shout at Christian Cooper or call the police from Central Park on May 25, 2020, because she was a racist — she did these things because she was alone in the park and frightened to death.”
”Christian Cooper was a birdwatcher with a history of aggressively confronting dog owners in Central Park who walked their dogs without a leash,” Litt wrote in the suit. “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 cannot imagine if he approached [Plaintiff] the same way how she may have genuinely been afraid for her life.’”
Central Park this morning: This woman’s dog is tearing through the plantings in the Ramble.ME: Ma’am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there.HER: The dog runs are closed. He needs his exercise.ME: All you have to do is take him to the other side of the drive, outside the Ramble, and you can let him run off leash all you want.HER: It’s too dangerous.ME: Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.HER: What’s that?ME (to the dog): Come here, puppy!HER: He won’t come to you.ME: We’ll see about that…I pull out the dog treats I carry for just for such intransigence. I didn’t even get a chance to toss any treats to the pooch before Karen scrambled to grab the dog.HER: DON’T YOU TOUCH MY DOG!!!!!That’s when I started video recording with my iPhone, and when her inner Karen fully emerged and took a dark turn…
Christian Cooper’s video sparked outrage on social media, much of which was revived by the news of Amy’s lawsuit. Journalist Elie Mystel tweeted: “Amy Cooper suing because her employer noticed her racism after authorities went easy on her (in part because she was white) is basically white privilege and white fragility having a baby.” Producer Franklin Leonard tweeted: “Remember when some of y’all argued that Amy Cooper must have learned her lesson and didn’t deserve any additional adverse outcomes?”
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