By AIMEE SACHS
(CN) – A former Roswell, Georgia police officer claims in court that her civil and First Amendment rights were violated when she was fired for displaying a Confederate flag outside of her home.
In a lawsuit filed in the federal court in Atlanta on Wednesday, plaintiff Silvia Cotriss says she was employed by the Roswell Police Department for 20 years, and before her firing, she was a sergeant in its uniform patrol division.
Cotriss says that on July 16, Roswell Police Chief James Russell Grant, a defendant in the lawsuit, received an email complaint about a Confederate flag that was being displayed on a flagpole outside a private residence.
The person lodging the complaint also reportedly said they also believed the residence belonged to a Roswell police officer because a department police car was seen parked in the driveway.
“The complainant alleged that he felt due to the current race, police, and human relations issues, the officer should not be allowed to display such a flag despite her individual right to free speech,” the lawsuit states.
The Confederate flag found its way back into national discussion following the 2015 slaying of nine black people at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Dylann Roof was convicted of carrying out those murders Thursday afternoon.
In the weeks before the murders, Roof often photographed himself with the flag. In the aftermath of the shootings the Confederate flag was removed from the grounds of South Carolina’s statehouse.
The Confederate flag has also been a hot-button issue in the metro Atlanta area. Last year, a Confederate flag was stolen from Stone Mountain.