She sued, "saying the city violated Cotriss’ First Amendment rights in terminating her by denying her right of free speech," Hurd writes. Attorney David Ates said in a statement: "Sylvia Cotriss, a 20-year veteran with the Roswell Police Department, was not making any political statement and certainly was not involved with any kind of hate group. She was simply displaying a symbol of her cultural heritage. Cotriss has the same rights of free speech as any American. Merely flying the Confederate flag does not mean she is taking any kind of racial position. But she is fired for it." He also noted that the state offers a license plate with the Confederate flag.
Ates also announced this week that they have denied a request for help from the Southern Legal Resource Center, whose founder Kirk Lyons has been classified as "neo-Confederate" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Kristal Dixon reports for the Roswell Patch. Ates told the Patch, "We felt that their presence was distracting from the real issue in this case."