Police Officer Fired For Flying Confederate Flag Files Suit

REUTERS/Jason Miczek

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief
Font Size:

Roswell, Georgia police officer Silvia Cotriss, who was fired after 20 years of service with the force because she was flying a Confederate battle flag at her home, filed a lawsuit over the weekend against the city.

Cotriss was a sergeant with the Roswell Police Department.

The fired peace officer says her freedom of speech was contravened.

The official reason for her dismissal: conduct that was “unbecoming” after neighbors apparently called to complain about the flag.

Cotriss says she received no objections about the flag. When she appealed her firing, the former police officer said she was merely celebrating her Southern heritage and “a part of history involving the civil war.”

Cotriss is being assisted in her fight by attorney David Ates and the Southern Legal Resource Centre, headed by Kirk Lyons, an individual whom the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC) labels “white supremacist.”

The SPLC has described this year’s Orlando, Florida nightclub mass murder and the Black Lives Matter shooting of Dallas police officers as “radical right terrorist plots.”

Neither Cotriss nor her lawyer say they are aware of any connection between Lyons and extremist organizations.

Cotriss is suing to get her job back or for compensation equivalent to 10 years of pay and benefits as well as other damages.

The lawsuit, filed against the city, names Police Chief Rusty Grant and City Administrator Katherine Love, describes the Confederate flag as “a way to honor (Cotriss’) Southern heritage and her late husband,” and argues that “A Confederate flag can communicate an array of messages, among them various political and historic points of view.”

Follow David on Twitter