Highly decorated former city of Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran regained his good standing after being suspended and then fired for his beliefs regarding homosexuality thanks to a vote by the city council on Monday that approved a settlement that would award him $1.2 million in damages and attorneys’ fees.
The payout, which must be approved by Atlanta’s mayor, comes after a December 2017 court ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia found the city of Atlanta had violated Cochran’s constitutional right to freedom of speech.
Mayor Kasim Reed fired Cochran for writing a men’s devotional book in his own free time that briefly mentioned his Christian views of marriage and sexuality. Some city officials not only disagreed with Cochran’s views, but also felt that he should have gotten prior approval before writing and distributing the book to his coworkers. The mayor even went so far as to accuse Cochran of discrimination and launched an investigation.
But the federal court said that Atlanta’s overly-broad rules requiring the city’s approval before disseminating materials at work violated the chief’s freedom of speech rights.
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