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Former South Fulton police officer says being forced to cut hair was religious discrimination

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News spoke exclusively with the police officer who says his supervisors forced him to cut off his locs.

The former officer had been growing his locs for more than 20 years as part of his religion. Now, he’s filed a federal complaint.

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“This was devastating to me,” said Milton Myrie, former South Fulton Police officer.

Myrie told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes that he moved his family from New York to Georgia when he got a job with the South Fulton Police Department. They hired him in January of 2021.

When Myrie applied for the job, he had shoulder-length locs.

“Moments prior to signing a supervisor had told me that in order to work for the city of South Fulton I had to cut my locs off. I was shocked, (you) know because previously I had met with recruiters and supervisors about three times prior to coming down here. They mentioned nothing about cutting my locs off,” Myrie said.

Myrie said two supervisors told him that.

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He said one of them was Dep. Chief Connie Rogers. In a picture of Rogers, she has locs herself.

Myrie said he asked a lieutenant at the time, Tiffany Kendrick if he could get a religious accommodation since he’s a Rastafarian.

He says Kendrick told him no. He could only get that accommodation for his beard.

So, he cut off his locs he’d been growing for 20 years that symbolized his faith and black pride.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make just to support my family. It’s like a different person I’m looking at in the mirror, still not used to it,” Myrie said.

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Three witnesses gave statements saying they heard the two supervisors telling Myrie he had to cut his hair. One of those witnesses said they tried to do the same thing to him but he never cut his because he went to the police chief and asked him if he had to. The chief said no.

Since there’s pending litigation now, neither supervisor would comment.

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