North Charleston cop fired for Confederate flag boxers Facebook photo

North Charleston Police Sgt. Shannon Dildine allegedly posted this photo several days ago on his Facebook page showing him wearing Confederate flag boxers (WCIV)

A North Charleston police officer is out of a job after he posted a picture to Facebook showing him wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts featuring the Confederate flag.

Sgt. Shannon Dildine allegedly posted the photo several days ago, ABC affiliate WCIV-TV reports. It quickly gained traction on social media where it was ultimately seen by his boss, North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers.

"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," Driggers wrote in a letter, obtained by ABC News, to Dildine.

The letter also told Dildine that the photo undermined "your ability to improve trust and instill confidence when working with our citizens" and also undermines the sergeant's ability to handle criminal cases involving minorities "since defense counsel can reasonably be expected to use the photograph to call into question the (sic) your motivation in making the arrest."

Driggers did write that "some say the flag emblem may have different meanings to different people," but he also pointed out that Dildine's "personal beliefs are irrelevant to the City's decision to terminate your employment.

"In light of current events posting an inflammatory photograph in a way that permitted it to become widely distributed shows a lack of reason or judgment that is unacceptable," the letter says.

Confederate symbols including the rebel battle flag have been the subject of resentment for years. The anger boiled over after last week's massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The suspect, Dylann Roof, posed in photos with the Confederate flag.

Many states, including South Carolina, are now taking steps to remove the flag from public places. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley started the groundswell against Confederate icons Monday by successfully calling on South Carolina lawmakers to debate taking down the Confederate battle flag flying in front of the Statehouse. Then Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, also a conservative Republican, brought down four secessionist flags at the Capitol in Montgomery.

A host of retailers, including Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears, eBay and Etsy, followed actions by the states, announcing that they would remove Confederate flag merchandise from their shelves and websites. Google also blocked digital ads featuring the flag, and Apple announced it was removing games from its online app store that feature the Confederate flag in "offensive or mean-spirited ways."

Dildine has 10 days to appeal his firing.

ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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