North Charleston police officer appealing firing over Confederate boxer shorts

Shannon Dildine

The former North Charleston police officer who was fired after a Facebook photo of him wearing Confederate flag boxer shorts was circulated is appealing.

Shannon Dildine has asked for a hearing, Christine Ruth, the city of North Charleston’s human resources director, said Friday. A date has not been set, she said.

Dildine was told in a June 24 letter that he was fired for posting a photo of him posing in the shorts. Nobody has said when Dildine posted the photo. Somebody copied it from his Facebook page and circulated it during a backlash against the Confederate flag following the June 17 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The man accused of the shooting, Dylann Roof, had posed for photos with a Confederate flag on his Facebook page before the rampage at the church.

Police Chief Eddie Driggers noted in the termination letter that the flag “symbolizes hate and oppression to a significant portion of the citizens we are sworn to serve.” Driggers said Dildine could not have continued as an officer because any arrest of a minority could be challenged on the basis of possible racial bias.

Dildine’s attorney, Edward Phipps of Mount Pleasant, sent Driggers a letter requesting an appeal June 26, two days after Dildine was told he was fired. The city released it Friday under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

The letter says Driggers is requesting an appeal because Dildine was “terminated without cause and without any policy violations.”

“It is my understanding that Mr. Dildine has an excellent record and has been an outstanding officer,” Phipps said in the letter.

A check with the police department’s office of internal affairs — also a Freedom of Information request — shows that three complaints were filed against Dildine over his nearly 20 years of service, none of them concerning racial issues. Two of the complaints involved traffic incidents and the other a lost wallet.

In February 2007, Dildine lost his police wallet with ID badge, proximity badge and insurance cards. He was exonerated of that complaint, according to the report.

In May 2012, Dildine was backing out of his driveway and hit a tree, damaging a patrol car. The vehicle operations violation complaint was sustained.

In February 2014, Dildine drove over spikes intended to stop a suspect running from police and blew out two tires on Otranto Road. Dildine “did not demonstrate exemplary driving behavior nor did he exercise due regard,” according to the report.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.