Confederate Flag Flying Georgia Cop Loses Job

A Roswell, Georgia police officer was fired on Thursday. The officer’s dismissal from the police force came after multiple citizens reported a Confederate flag flying outside the man’s home, while an official police vehicle sat parked in the driveway.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Roswell police chief Rusty Grant has been working hard to improve relations between the police department and the local Black community. Grant has made it a point to reach out to the community by attending only African-American churches since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri.

On July 10, Pastor Lee Jenkins of Eagle’s Nest Church in Roswell, invited Grant and his department to worship with them. Grant accepted the invitation. In a statement to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Grant said:

“For me the takeaway from Ferguson was that a lot of African-Americans don’t trust police officers and don’t see them as I did when I was growing up. I honestly didn’t know that before. I was ignorant of that. Everyone needs to work to make things better.”

A day later, however, an unidentified officer from Grant’s department responded by erecting a Confederate flag on his property. While the first amendment protects the rights of citizens to display the flag, the officer parked an official police vehicle on the property as well. It was seen by numerous residents, who called the police chief to complain.

On Thursday, the chief announced that the officer had been fired, saying:

“On the past Monday, July 11, we received a complaint about an unidentified Roswell Police officer. Based on the complaint, the Office of Professional Standards (internal affairs) did the investigation. After it was complete, I reviewed it and it was sustained by me and based on that, the police officer was terminated this past Thursday.”

While the police chief refused to provide further details, including the name of the officer, Pastor Jenkins told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that church members had also called him to report the Confederate flag. The pastor confirmed that Grant had fired the officer involved in those complaints.

Members of the Black community applauded the decision. Fernandez Anderson of Lawrenceville told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“I commend Chief Grant for being a man of integrity and a man of his word. He made his stand to say we must be better, we must do better. The chief had an open mind and didn’t just look at it from a police angle, he looked at it from a neutral angle.”

Featured image via J. Stephen Conn via Flickr