Officer Fired for Flying Confederate Flag Sues Police Department

A former Roswell police sergeant is suing the city after being terminated for flying a Confederate flag outside of her home. Silvia Cotriss filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court and names the City of Roswell, the Chief of Police, and the City Administrator as the defendants.

The freedom of speech lawsuit was filed by attorney David Yates and is being assisted by the North Carolina-based Southern Legal Resource Center. According to their Facebook page, the SLRC considers “Confederate Southern Americans” to be “America’s most persecuted minority.”

The organizations co-founder, Kirk Lyons, is recognized as a “white supremacist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. A logo on the SLRC’s website features a confederate flag beneath the slogan “Justice for Dixie.”

Cotriss, who served nearly 20 years with the Roswell Police Department, was fired in July after an internal investigation. Cotriss’ attorney, David Ates, states that her termination was a violation of her rights to free speech.

The lawsuit states that the “display of the Confederate flag at her private residence was constitutionally protected speech and that speech was a substantial or motivating factor in the RPD’s decision to terminate her.”

Cotriss seeks reinstatement or 10 years of pay and other compensatory damages.

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