The Roswell Police Department fired a long time officer after an investigation revealed she was flying a confederate flag in her front yard, and was possibly parking her patrol car by it.
Investigators say a passerby alerted a local pastor when he saw the police car parked next to the flag. The pastor then told Roswell Police Chief Rusty Grant during a community meeting.
Grant then ordered an investigation and as a result of it, Sgt. Silvia Cotriss was fired.
Channel 2’s Richard Elliot made an open records request for Cotriss’ personnel record and the flag investigation.
In the investigation, he found Cotriss told investigators that, “she didn’t see anything wrong with it” and “was unaware the flag had been adopted by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.”
Investigators say the flag is visible using Google Earth, which Elliot confirmed.
The termination letter Grant sent Cotriss stated that she had been “engaging in conduct on or off duty, which has a tendency to destroy public respect for the employee, or the department, or destroys confidence.”
“I was shocked at her obliviousness regarding the confederate flag,” Pastor Lee Jenkins, of Eagles Nest Church, said.
Jenkins is the one who alerted Grant to his friend’s concerns.
He believes Grant acted swiftly and properly when he fired Cotriss.
“I appreciate the chief maintaining a high level of professional and ethical standards in the police force, and whatever decision he makes, I support because I know he is trying to do the right thing,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins thanked the chief for listening and keeping the lines of communication open.
“So I believe one of the answers is dialogue, and maybe if we could come to the table, listen to each other, we can see unity and maybe we’ll see the dial move just a little bit,” Jenkins said.
Elliot reached out to Cotriss and her attorney, as well as the police department, but has not heard back from anyone.