Atlanta Fire Department Chief Fired

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Atlanta’s Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran, would be dismissed from his position during a press conference on Jan. 6.

Cochran’s dismissal follows the distribution of his Christian self-help text which contained anti-homosexual principals, according to the conference video.

The former chief’s book, titled: Who Told You That You Were Naked?, contained excerpts claiming that homosexual acts are ‘unclean’ and ‘violate the body-temple and dishonor God’, according to GA Voice.

Reed suspended Cochran on Nov. 24 for a month without pay during an investigation of his alleged violations against the city’s nondiscrimination policies, according to the mayor’s Facebook post.

Cochran did not complete the necessary prerequisites to distribute his book, according to Reed’s statements during the Jan. 6 press conference.

He sold the book without the prerequisite approval,” Reed said.

Cochran’s lawyers, the Alliance Defending Freedom legal group, released a statement on Jan. 13 in which the former fire chief said he was targeted for his religious beliefs.

“I am heartbroken that I will no longer be able to serve the city and the people I love as fire chief, for no reason other than my Christian faith,” Cochran said in the statement. “It’s ironic that the city points to tolerance and inclusion as a part of its reasoning. What could be more intolerant and exclusionary than ending a public servant’s 30 years of distinguished service for his religious beliefs?”
However Reed said Cochran’s personal religious beliefs were not the issue during the press conference.

“…Mr. Cochran and I are both men of faith,” he said. “My faith in God does not take a back seat to anyone else’s faith.”

Cochran’s replacement will be Interim Fire Chief Joel Baker, who has held various positions with the Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department since Aug. 2007.

“We [the fire department] have the support of Mayor Reed and we fully support his decision,” he said.