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Reporter alleges race discrimination against KSHB-TV in Kansas City

Lisa Benson Cooper, who goes by Lisa Benson, filed suit against KSHB, Channel 41, last month in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Lisa Benson Cooper, who goes by Lisa Benson, filed suit against KSHB, Channel 41, last month in Jackson County Circuit Court.

An African-American Kansas City television reporter alleges in a lawsuit that she has been discriminated against because of her race.

Lisa Benson Cooper, who goes by Lisa Benson, filed suit against KSHB, Channel 41, last month in Jackson County Circuit Court.

On Monday, attorneys for the station moved the case to federal court in Kansas City.

In her suit, Benson alleges that her race is “constantly used” in deciding where, or what topics, she would be reporting. The suit alleges that she was “consistently” being sent to the urban core for all her stories.

Once, she said she was sent alone to the home of a KKK member.

The suit also alleges that since she was hired as a general assignment reporter in 2004, she has applied for “numerous” promotions without success.

“The positions are consistently rewarded to white employees with far less experience than plaintiff,” the suit alleges.

After raising concerns about the way she was being treated in 2015, Benson was suspended without pay for two days for what she was told was “combative” behavior with a supervisor. In her suit, Benson said her behavior during the meeting was respectful.

The suit seeks an unspecified amount in actual and punitive damages.

An attorney for the station was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning.

Tony Rizzo: 816-234-4435, @trizzkc

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