A former Georgia police officer filed a lawsuit against her police department after they fired her for flying a Confederate flag in front of her house.
Silvia Cotriss, who spent almost twenty years with the Roswell Police Department, alleged in her lawsuit that her dismissal violated her right to free speech, reports FOX4KC.
“She was displaying her pride in her Southern heritage and honoring her recently deceased husband. The Confederate flag [is a] generally accepted symbol of Georgia heritage,” the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit, against the city of Roswell and the city’s police chief, seeks either ten years of pay or a return to her former position.
The department fired Cotriss in July for conduct unbecoming of an officer. They launched an investigation into her behavior after receiving a complaint about a Confederate flag flying in front of a house that had a cop car parked there. (RELATED: Police Sergeant Flies Confederate Flag, Gets Fired)
After the internal affairs division finished its investigation, Chief of Police Rusty Grant decided to fire Cotriss.
“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,” Cotriss told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the time.
Cotriss is being represented by attorney David Ates, as well as the Southern Legal Resource Center, a non-profit in North Carolina that fights for the “preservation of freedom for ALL.” The group also advocates for Southern Confederates, a group they claim is among the most persecuted in America.
The founder of the group, Kirk Lyons, had troubling allegations made against him in the past. A New York Times profile maintained that he had connections to white supremacist parties such as the Aryan Nations, the Klu Klux Klan, and the White Patriot Party.
Lyons has since denied the allegations and any ties to hate groups. His one goal, he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is to ensure that Cotriss gets a fair shake.
The city of Roswell and the police department could not be reached for comment.
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