An Atlanta, Georgia, veteran police officer was fired for flying a Confederate flag outside of her home.
Roswell Police Department Sgt. Silvia Cotriss was terminated due to “conduct unbecoming of an officer,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. The department fired Cotriss after a resident in her area reported the flag.
“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.”
The Roswell PD notified Cotriss in mid-July that she was under investigation after a local man notified the department by email about the flag.
“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 said Cotriss’ police cruiser was in her driveway, which she ultimately denied.
“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 insisted that she had no idea how offensive the flag is to people, saying that she does not watch the news and was unaware of the controversy surrounding the flag that followed events such as the massacre of nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.
“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.
Now-former Sgt. Cotriss said she would be willing to meet with Pastor Jenkins in particular since the flag reportedly offended him and 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.”