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Cop fired for Facebook selfie in Confederate flag boxers

Technically Incorrect: A North Charleston police officer decides to bare his allegiance at a very sensitive time in a very sensitive place. He is dismissed.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Was it necessary to post this to Facebook? WCIV-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

North Charleston, South Carolina, is where Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, was shot in the back and killed by a white police officer in April. (The officer is in jail on a murder charge.)

It is not too far from Charleston, where 9 black worshipers were killed by a white supremacist at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church just over a week ago.

If you're from that area, perhaps it's therefore unwise to post a Facebook picture of yourself wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts adorned with the Confederate flag. The flag, which represented the 11 Southern states that seceded from the Union during the American Civil War, is at the center of a nationwide debate after the shooting in Charleston. Many people associate the flag with slavery and view it as a racist symbol.

Still, some would argue it's your freedom of speech (and display), one that was exercised by Shannon Dildine.

However, was this a wise exercise in self-expression, given that Dildine is a sergeant in the North Charleston police department? Or, rather, was.

As WCIV-TV reports, Dildine was fired on Thursday after his photo spread rather quickly.

North Charleston Chief of Police Eddie Driggers issued this statement: "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."

I have contacted North Charleston police to ask for further comment and will update, should I hear. Dildine has 10 days to appeal his firing.

Many companies have been adjusting their attitudes toward the Confederate flag this week. Some, like Amazon and eBay, have stopped their sale.

Dildine isn't the first police officer to have turned to Facebook to offer dubious selfies. A couple of years ago, a Pennsylvania police chief was suspended for posting a gun-toting selfie to Facebook.

In Dildine's case, though, it's hard not to believe that this was a public provocation.

As Driggers explained in his statement, this image undermines the police department's ability to "improve trust and instill confidence when working with our citizens."