Amy Cooper, a white woman who was fired from her job after calling 911 on a black bird watcher in Central Park claiming he threatened her and attempted to attack her, has lost a discrimination lawsuit against her former employer .
U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams determined on Wednesday that Cooper’s claims against investment firm Franklin Templeton were unfounded. In a 17-page decision, Abrams dismissed Cooper’s claims of racial and gender discrimination, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and neglect.
“We are pleased that the court dismissed the complaint. We continue to believe society has responded appropriately,” Franklin Templeton told USA TODAY.
In May 2021, Cooper sued Franklin Templeton – alleging the company unlawfully terminated her without conducting an internal investigation and made defamatory statements about her on social media.
Abrams ruled that watching a video of the incident and discussing Cooper’s conduct “would meet a reasonable interpretation of an ‘internal review,'” and that “an accusation of bigotry is a statement of opinion. protected, rather than a defamatory statement of fact capable of being proven true or false.
The company announced Cooper’s dismissal on Twitter, stating “We do not tolerate racism”, shortly after a video of Cooper in May 2020 went viral.
CENTRAL PARK VIRAL VIDEO:Birdwatcher on woman who called cops over viral argument with dog in Central Park: ‘I didn’t care’
In the video, Cooper was walking his dog in the Ramble, a section of Central Park that requires dogs to be on a leash, when Christian Cooper, a black bird watcher who is not related to Amy Cooper, asked him to leave his pet.
Cooper reports a 911 call and alleged that a man named Christian Cooper – who is not related to her – threatened her life. The incident happened in the Ramble, a wooded area in Central Park where dogs must be kept on a leash. The man who had been watching the birds asked Cooper to leash his dog in the park.
As their exchange escalated on Memorial Day 2020, Amy Cooper called 911 and reported “an African American male…threatening me and my dog.” Christian Cooper, meanwhile, began filming the actions of Amy Cooper.
The video posted on social media garnered millions of views that day. The incident happened the same day George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by Derek Chauvin, the white police officer who knelt on his neck and was convicted of murder last month.
Charges were dropped against Amy Cooper last year after she completed a psychoeducation and therapy program focused on racial equity.
In her lawsuit, filed in federal court, Amy Cooper alleges that Franklin Templeton’s actions allowed her to be “characterized as a privileged white woman ‘Karen’ caught on video verbally assaulting an African American man without other possible reason than the color of his skin.” The lawsuit said the woman was primarily motivated by fear during the exchange, not race.
AMY COOPER CASE:A white woman in Central Park called 911 a second time on a black bird watcher, prosecutors say
Amy Cooper also claimed the company favored three male employees who engaged in misconduct, including insider trading and domestic violence, and that her dismissal was unfair. But Abrams ruled the cases were not similar and could not prove bias.
“Plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with the adequacy of Defendants’ investigation — even if objectively justified — is insufficient to support an inference of discrimination,” Abrams wrote in the notice.
A lawyer for Cooper did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment on Thursday.
Contributor: Ryan Miller, USA TODAY