An Atlanta police sergeant was fired for flying the Confederate flag outside of her home.
Silvia Cotriss, 53, former sergeant with the Roswell Police Department in Georgia, was terminated on July 14 after a local resident reported seeing the Confederate flag hanging outside of her home, WGCL reported.
In her termination, a police captain wrote that the flag “brought discredit to the Roswell Police Department." But Cotriss claims she didn’t know people found the flag offensive.
“If I knew it offended someone, my friends, my family, I wouldn’t do it,” Cotriss told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “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 told detectives the Confederate flag is “part of her history, part of the South, part of history involving the Civil War.”
Detectives responded by telling Cotriss that the Charleston, South Carolina, mass shooter, Dylann Roof, used the flag as a symbol. Cotriss said she was “not aware of its relation to the shooting.”
“Cops don't watch the news because we live it in the day and don't want to see it again at night,” Cotriss told the newspaper.
The man who reported the flag told Roswell Police chief Rusty Grant in an email that if he or his family needed to call the police, he feared the officer proudly displaying the Confederate flag would respond.
“How can we trust an officer like that to do their job with integrity?” Eagle Nest pastor Lee Jenkins told WGCL.
The Eagle Nest Church invited Grant to a service on July 9 following the July 7 Dallas police shootings.
Cotriss said she plans on appealing her termination.