Cop sues police department after posing in Confederate underwear
North Charleston sergeant Shannon Dildine was caught modeling the underwear bearing the design, which is controversial because of its connotations with slavery, in a post on Facebook in 2015.
At that time, a furor was erupting in the state over whether the southern symbol should be flown on government buildings in North Charleston, after racist killer Dylann Roof used it as an emblem for his racist beliefs.
Dildine was subsequently fired over the social media image which police chiefs slammed for its potential to inflame tensions, criticizing him for associating the North Charleston Police Department with a symbol of “hate” and “oppression.”
While the Confederate pennant was eventually removed from South Carolina capitol grounds, the debate over the flag is now threatening to boil over again with news that Sgt. Shannon Dildine has launched a lawsuit against the South Carolina police, reported The Charlotte Observer.
In court files the former North Charleston officer alleged he had been the victim of racial discrimination, likening his ill-timed post to assistant police chief Reggie Burgess being pictured with Black Lives Matter members, according to The Post and Courier.
Dildine’s case appears to centre on the fact that Burgess was backed as an “ambassador“ by his employers over the Black Lives Matter photo, while he was removed from his role as a police officer for sporting the Confederate flag around his groin.
He claims he was unaware of the scale of Confederate flag outrage following the shootings because he was on holidays, with lawsuit files reportedly stating his aim was just “to diffuse a debate that two of his Friends were having,” report Fox News.
“He was fired for expressing his First Amendment rights,” Dildine’s attorney Chris Potts is quoted as saying, by The Post and Courier newspaper.
“[A] white officer who does something is treated more harshly than a minority officer who does something.”
On June 17 last year Dylann Roof attended a bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston before gunning down nine people in what was a racially motivated attack.
That's the flag of apartheid-era South Africa on Dylann Roof's jacket pic.twitter.com/ex4cG15sVA— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) June 18, 2015
A manifesto written by the 22-year-old explaining his hate crimes was published online, alongside images of him holding the Confederate flag and also burning the Stars and Stripes.