This week is not just the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. It also marks the one-year anniversary of another racist crime, one which also got national headlines and one which showed the insidiousness of racist white a–holes. In late May 2020, Amy Cooper called the police to report the “crime” of a Black man, Christian Cooper, telling her to leash her dog in Central Park. Christian Cooper is a bird-watcher, and the area of the park had leash laws. Instead of leashing her dog, Amy Cooper called the cops and feigned hysteria, claiming that a Black man was harassing and threatening her. Christian Cooper filmed the incident and publicized the story, but he did not cooperate with authorities and later said he did not want her to be charged with a crime. Amy Cooper did lose her job at Franklin Templeton soon after the incident. And… now she’s suing her former employer.
Franklin Templeton characterized a former employee as “racist” for calling the police on a Black birdwatcher whom she had words with while walking her dog in Central Park, publicized the incident on Twitter, and falsely claimed it conducted an investigation before firing her, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan.
Amy Cooper said the May 25, 2020, incident was spurred by her fear of the birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, who she says had a history of “aggressively confronting” dog owners for walking their dogs off-leash. He similarly initiated the dispute with her in the same aggressive manner while she was walking her dog alone, causing her “to reasonably fear” for the safety of her and her pet, Cooper said.
That’s why she called the police, Cooper told the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in a Tuesday complaint. Franklin Templeton would have known that if had performed the investigation it told the public it had conducted, she said.
“We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately,” Franklin Templeton told Bloomberg Law on Wednesday in an email. “We will defend against these baseless claims.”
The company didn’t really look into the incident before firing Cooper the following day, just shy of five years after she was hired, the suit said. It only interviewed her in the immediate aftermath, when she was still “palpably distraught and fearful of her safety,” Cooper said. And it never spoke or tried to speak with Christian Cooper or any of the other dogwalkers he had previously accosted, she said.
That includes a Black man who issued a statement to the media May 26, 2020, stating that he too feared Christian Cooper “because of his body language and screaming” when confronting him while he was walking his dog off-leash in the park, the suit said. Nor did Franklin Templeton seek the minutes of New York City Park Board meetings predating Christian Cooper’s attack on her that would have detailed his prior aggression towards dog owners and his statement to the board that “it has gotten ugly between birders and unleashed dog walkers,” Cooper said.
It also never tried to obtain the full versions of her 911 calls to the New York City Police Department, Cooper said. The company instead broadcast her firing on Twitter in terms that implied she is a racist, Cooper said.
[From Bloomberg Law]
The report goes on and on but let’s stop at “obtain the full versions of her 911 calls.” Plural. She made the initial false report to 911 in Christian Cooper’s presence, on camera, but she doubled-down when a 911 operator called her back minutes later, where she again claimed that he harassed her and threatened her. She was trying to force the cops to come to Central Park and have some kind of violent altercation with Christian Cooper and she’s a disgusting, racist C-U-Next-Tuesday. Basically, this f–king Karen is suing her former employer because she claims she had every right to call the cops on a Black bird watcher who told her to leash her dog, and because Franklin Templeton took one look at that video of her vile, reprehensible behavior and wanted no part of it.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) May 26, 2021
Photos courtesy of social media videos.
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