Police and Law Enforcement

Police sergeant fired for flying Confederate flag said she never heard complaints

A Georgia cop is unemployed after a man driving by her home reported to authorities that she was flying the Confederate flag.

Sergeant Silvia Cotriss says she had “no idea” that the some of her neighbors found the flag offensive, and, in an appeal of her termination, says that she was just celebrating her Southern heritage and “part of history involving the Civil War.”

Cotriss says she flew the flag in front of her Roswell, Ga., home for over a year without any complaint from friends or neighbors—and if she’d known it was causing a disturbance, she’d have removed it sooner. She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “If I knew it offended someone, my friends, my family, I wouldn’t do it.”

But Cotriss’s department moved quickly to take action against the 20-year veteran of the Roswell Police Department, who before the flag incident, had only been disciplined once before (and had been routinely commended by her superiors). Roswell’s Chief of Police, Rusty Grant, had been making a serious effort to bond with the surrounding community and, it seems, Cotriss’s flag interfered with his plan.

Grant attended a service at a historically African-American congregation in the week before Cotriss was fired, and the complaint his office received referenced the service, and addressed Grant directly. “It is very difficult to explain to my daughter that we should trust our police,” the complaint noted. “But in the same sentiment if I were to ever be pulled over or some situation where my family needs the police to protect and serve, my first thought/fear is that it may be the officer proudly flying his/her Confederate flag.”

The complaint also noted that Cotriss’s squad car was in the driveway, under the flag — a point Cotriss disputes, claiming her car was in for repair when the complaint came in.

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