North Charleston, SC – A former North Charleston police sergeant, who was fired for posting a photo of himself wearing Confederate flag underwear, settled a lawsuit with the city for $55,000.
The officer will not get his job back with his police department.
Former North Charleston Police Sgt. Shannon Dildine claimed, in a federal lawsuit, that he was wrongfully terminated when he was fired in 2015, according to The Post and Courier newspaper.
Sgt. Dildine, who is white, posted a picture of himself wearing Confederate flag underwear in June of 2015.
A supervisor remarked on the posting to Sgt. Dildine the next day, and he immediately deleted it.
Sgt. Dildine told supervisors he “did not believe the Confederate flag was a symbol of hate,” according to the lawsuit. “Instead, he believed it symbolized opposition to bigger or intrusive government.”
The city said Sgt. Dildine’s photo was inflammatory and showed poor judgment, The Post and Courier reported.
North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers said he was fired because the photo undermined Sgt. Dildine's “ability to improve trust and instill confidence when working with our citizens.”
“Your posting in this manner led to you being publicly identified as a North Charleston police officer and associated both you and the Department with an image that symbolizes hate and oppression to a significant portion of the citizens we are sworn to serve,” Chief Driggers wrote in his termination letter, according to the New York Daily News.
Sgt. Dildine said in his lawsuit that he didn’t know that church shooter Dylann Roof had used the Confederate flag to express racial hatred.
Sgt. Dildine claimed the city had discriminated against him because he’s white, citing a black police officer from his department who was not disciplined for appearing in a photo with Black Lives Matter protesters.
The South Carolinian Insurance Reserve Fund will pay Sgt. Dildine the $55,000 settlement.