“The religious nature of his book is not the reason he is no longer employed by the city of Atlanta,” Torres said. “The totality of his conduct …reflected poor judgment and failure to follow clearly defined work protocols.”
Reed maintains that he fired Cochran because the chief didn’t have required clearance from City Hall to publish the book, identified himself as the city’s fire chief in its pages, and distributed it to a small number of employees. What’s more, Reed said Cochran disobeyed his request to not speak publicly during a month-long suspension and has shown no “contrition” for the ensuing controversy.
The city found no evidence during its investigation of Cochran that his beliefs played a role in his leadership.
Cochran has since become the poster child for a religious liberty bill now under consideration at the Gold Dome. The chief, who has received support from organizations including the Georgia Baptist Convention, Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom, has also filed a federal discrimination complaint against the city of Atlanta for what he says is religious discrimination.
On Wednesday, the former fire chief and the Alliance Defending Freedom are expected to hold a press conference at the Capitol to discuss “new developments” in Cochran’s case.