NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The North Charleston Police Officer who sued after being fired over a social media photo has reached a settlement with the city, court documents state.
Former NCPD Sgt. Shannon Dildine filed a lawsuit against the city of North Charleston, Mayor Keith Summey and Police Chief Eddie Driggers in June 2016 for wrongful termination and termination based on race, according to court documents.
North Charleston spokesman Ryan Johnson confirmed Friday the suit was settled at mediation for $55,000, which will be paid to Dildine from the Insurance Reserve Fund. No city funds were expended on the settlement, Johnson said.
An order of dismissal filed on Oct. 19 in the U.S. District Court states the court was advised by counsel that the lawsuit was settled.
Dildine was terminated in June 2015 for allegedly posting a photo of himself wearing boxer shorts with the design of the Confederate flag. The photo in question was allegedly posted on June 22, 2015, five days after the mass shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church. Dylann Roof, who was convicted in December 2016 of the crime, had been previously photographed holding a Confederate flag and a gun.
In the lawsuit, Dildine argued he posted the picture of himself after returning home from a family vacation in response to "a heated debate" about whether the Confederate flag should be removed from the statehouse grounds, but stated he was unaware that photos had surfaced showing Roof draped in a Confederate flag prior to the shootings and that Summey had held a news conference voicing his support of removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.
According to a letter sent to Dildine from Police Chief Eddie Driggers, he was let go because "it could compromise any criminal cases involving minorities because a defense attorney could use the photo to call into question his motivation for making an arrest."
Dildine's suit stated he was terminated from the department on June 24, 2015, two days after the post.
Dildine served as a Drug Enforcement detective, a field and training officer, and then a uniformed patrolman. He was offered a position as a corporal, and then promoted to the rank of sergeant.
The order of dismissal states that if the settlement is not completed within 60 days, either party may petition the court to reopen the lawsuit.