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Police Sergeant Flies Confederate Flag, Gets Fired

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter

A Georgia police sergeant was fired earlier this July for flying a Confederate flag over her house.

The Confederate flag flew over former police sergeant Silvia Cotriss’s house for over a year, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  She told the outlet that she had not received any complaints about the flag from her neighbors during that time.

During the week of July 11, the internal affairs division of the police department informed Cotriss that she was being investigated for not acting appropriately.

“If I knew it offended someone, my friends, my family, I wouldn’t do it. Police officers have to adjust a lot of things in our lives, and for 20 years my whole life has been about making change and being held to a higher standard. We take an oath to help and protect people, so we can’t have a private life that’s really bad,” Cotriss said to the AJC.

After the police shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and the Dallas police shootings, a local pastor, Lee Jenkins, gave a sermon on how the police and the community could work together. A day after the sermon, a parishioner called Jenkins, saying that he had driven by a house with a Confederate flag flying over it, noting that a police car was parked in front of the house.

Jenkins called the police chief to complain about the flag.

“People have a First Amendment right to fly a flag on their own property, but when you have a government-issued vehicle out front, that’s highly offensive and inappropriate,”Jenkins said.

The investigation occurred after Roswell, Georgia Chief of Police Rusty Grant learned of the complaint. Grant told the AJC that after the investigation, he decided to fire Cotriss.

Cotriss is appealing her termination.

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