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Fire chief's suspension an issue of judgment, mayor says

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Wednesday that the future of his fire chief has to be a matter of due process.

Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was suspended without pay for a month after he wrote a religious book in which he describes homosexuality as a "sexual perversion."

Cochran's views are incongruous with both Reed's and Atlanta's official policy, the mayor said. In addition to his suspension, Cochran has been prohibited from distributing the book and will undergo sensitivity training.

But Reed said it was Cochran's judgment, not his religious views, that led to the suspension. Cochran did not alert Reed to the book until after it was published, the mayor said, even though he called the city's Board of Ethics prior to its publication, knowing it might be controversial.

Reed said he intends to revisit the issue, saying it was "very clear" that he will continue to deal with the fallout.

He said, though, that the idea that it was a religious issue was "deeply offensive."

"It has nothing to do with his faith, it has to do with his judgment," Reed said.

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About the Author

Emory grad Arielle Kass covers Fulton County. She previously covered Gwinnett County, housing, money and retail business at the AJC. 

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