A former police officer fired for flying a Confederate flag at her suburban Atlanta home has filed a federal lawsuit saying her termination violates her constitutional right to free speech.
Silvia Cotriss had worked for the Roswell Police Department for about 20 years and was a sergeant when she was fired in July. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday against the city of Roswell, the police chief and the city administrator, the Associated Press reports.
The city attorney's office declined to comment Friday.
The lawsuit contends that Cotriss was wrongfully terminated in violation of her First Amendment right to free speech because displaying the Confederate flag at her private home was constitutionally protected speech that was "a substantial motivating factor" in her termination. That speech had no relation to her job, the lawsuit says.
Cotriss has suffered lost pay and benefits and has suffered severe emotional distress and pain and suffering, the lawsuit says. She is seeking actual and punitive damages.