Police in Roswell, Georgia fired one of their officers after somebody complained that a Confederate flag was flying outside the officer's home, a pastor told local media on Saturday.
Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that an officer was fired Thursday after the department received a complaint, but he did not elaborate. The former officer is a woman, WTVM reported.
Pastor Lee Jenkins said he'd reached out to Grant after the police chief accepted an invitation to worship at Eagles Nest Church last week in the spirit of healing after police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.
The next day, the pastor said he'd heard from a parishioner that a Confederate flag was flying outside a house with a Roswell Police vehicle sitting in the driveway. Jenkins said he reported it to the police chief.
The flag has emerged as a polarizing symbol in recent years. Opponents have described it as a symbol of hate, while supporters say it's an unmistakeable part of Southern history.
“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 told the Journal-Constitution.
The pastor said he learned from police that the officer in question was terminated after an investigation.
Grant said the worship service was an eye-opening experience. “For me the takeaway from Ferguson was that a lot of African Americans don’t trust police officers and don’t see them as I did when I was growing up,” he told the newspaper. “I honestly didn’t know that before.”
Roswell is a half-hour's drive north of Atlanta.