N. Charleston officer fired over Confederate flag underwear files federal lawsuit

Published: Jun. 10, 2016 at 5:40 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2016 at 6:14 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WIS) - The former North Charleston Police officer who was fired after photos of him in Confederate flag boxer shorts were posted on social media is filing a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming he was wrongfully terminated because of his race.

Former Sgt. Shannon Dildine's photos of himself wearing the shorts surfaced after he said he posted them on Facebook to diffuse a heated debate about the flag on social media between two friends.

RELATED: See the photos connected to this case.

The posting occurred just days after accused shooter Dylann Roof killed nine African-American parishioners at Emanuel AME Church. The racially-charged shootings ignited a powder keg of debate -- both real and virtual -- about the flag and whether or not it needed to be removed from the State House.

RELATED: See photos of the Confederate flag's removal from the State House.

Dildine's attorney says his client was unaware "that pictures surfaced showing the accused shooter at the Emanuel AME Church draped in a Confederate flag prior to the shootings."

The lawsuit continues, alleging that Dildine did not view the flag to be a "symbol of hate." "Instead," the suit says, "he believed it symbolized opposition to bigger or intrusive government."

Dildine was fired by the North Charleston Police Department on June 24 after a meeting with city and police leaders.

In that meeting, according to the lawsuit, Dildine and the officials brought up a picture of North Charleston Chief Deputy Eddie Driggers took with members of the Black Lives Matter movement just weeks prior. The lawsuit says Dildine is upset Driggers was not disciplined for the photo while Dildine was fired for his.

Dildine is seeking unspecified damages in the suit, saying that the job was his "entire world."

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