When an Atlanta, Georgia police officer was caught flying a Confederate flag outside her home, the police department instantly fired her. Although Roswell Police Department Sgt. Silvia Cotriss had done her job well for more than two decades, she was terminated because her “conduct [was] unbecoming of an officer,” as the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
When a neighbor grew upset with Cotriss’s flag, they reported it to the police and that’s when she was fired. The community member did not feel like the flying of the Confederate flag supported Cotriss’s oath to protect and serve the community of Roswell. Scroll down for more opinions on this incident…
Cotriss now wishes she had a second chance. She claims that if she knew the flag was offensive, she would have taken it down. Unfortunately, the flag has been a source of national contention for several years and Cotriss as a police office in Georgia would have known that.
“If I knew it offended someone, my friends, my family, I wouldn’t do it,” Cotriss said. “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 first heard about the investigation into her conduct back in July 2016. The Roswell police department had received an email complaint from a local.
“It is very difficult to explain to my daughter that we should trust our police,” the email read. “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 man claimed that Cotriss parked her American police cruiser under the rebel flag. She called the man a liar.
When the community heard this claim, they grew outraged.
“How can we trust an officer like that to do their job with integrity,” Pastor Lee Jenkins, who also complained about the flag, told WGCL.
Cotriss claimed that she did not know the flag was offensive. She does not watch the news, she said, and had no idea that the massacre of nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015 had been an American tragedy.
“Cops don’t watch the news because we live it in the day and don’t want to see it again at night,” she said, according to Mad World News.
Now the former sergeant is looking for work. But in the meantime, she wants to meet with Pastor Jenkins because the flag was particularly offensive to his congregation.
“If it offends the church, we want to work with them,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “That’s what we’re all striving for is peace and unity.”