Residents question why Latta mayor fired town's first female pol - WBTW-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Florence, SC

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LATTA, SC - The Mayor of the Town Of Latta fired the town's Police Chief on Tuesday.

Latta town councilman Jarett Taylor told us the mayor fired Crystal Moore because she received 7 reprimands.

News13 was there as Moore, the first female chief of Latta, packed her belongings and left her office late Tuesday afternoon.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Latta council votes to block Mayor from hiring police chief replacement (click for full story)

On Wednesday, the news of Moore's firing spread throughout Latta. And some of her supporters rallied in front of Latta Town Hall.

Some said they simply don't understand why Chief Moore was fired.

One Council Member told News13 that the seven reprimands Moore received on Tuesday from the mayor were the first reprimands Moore ever received on the job --- and that's after working for the police department in Latta for more than 20 years.

Dozens of supports rallied outside of Latta Town Hall Wednesday in support of fired Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore.

"This woman has been a veteran of the department and a pillar of this community for years," said Kevin Drawhorn, a Latta resident and supporter of Moore.


Some council members say the mayor didn't follow protocol when he fired Chief Moore.The group plans to discuss the issue in a Latta town council meeting Thursday at 5:30 pm.


"We have codes, but this Mayor refuses to obey anything in that book he don't want to," said Lutherine Williams, a Latta Council member.

Specifically, she says, Mayor Earl Bullard should have first given Chief Moore a verbal warning, then a written one. Then, discuss the matter with council before giving her the boot.

Council members say that Mayor Bullard didn't do any of that.

"If an employee does something, you don't wait three or four days or two or three weeks to do something about it," Williams said.

Instead, Williams says the mayor gave Chief Moore all seven written reprimands in one day. They were her first reprimands during her 20-plus years on the job.  (Click here to read all 7 of the reprimands from the Mayor)


"I looked at the reasons, some of them are questionable," said Brian Mason, another Latta Council member.

Some residents believe the mayor firing Crystal Moore was payback. Moore investigated Mayor Bullard's most recent hire, Parks And Rec Director Vontray Sellers.

NEWS 13 first broke the story of sellers driving a Latta town vehicle while his license was suspended back in February...Chief Moore found the mayor neglected to conduct a background check on Sellers.

"Since he's been in here, it's been haywire!," said Tammy Taylor, a Latta resident.

Some Latta residents and elected officials say Mayor Bullard had a vendetta against Moore well before he hired sellers -- because Chief Moore is openly gay.

"Before he was sworn in office, he said Anne and Crystal would not have a job," Williams said.

The recording of a phone conversation obtained by news 13 appears to back that up.

Councilman Jared Taylor recorded Mayor Bullard saying he "doesn't agree with some lifestyles."

Part of the conversation says: "I would much rather have someone who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I have somebody who's lifestyle is questionable around children. Because that ain't the damn way it supposed to be," the mayor is heard on a recording.

Here is the full text of the telephone recording with the Mayor speaking:

"I would much rather have.. and I will say this to anybody's face... somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children.


Because that ain't the damn way it's supposed to be. You know.. you  got people out there -- I'm telling you buddy -- I don't agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don't say anything because that is the way they want to live, but I am not going to let my child be around. "


I'm not going to let 2 women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware of it. And I'm not going to see them do it with 2 men neither."


I'm not going to do it. Because that ain't the way the world works. "


Now, all these people showering down and saying 'Oh it's a different lifestyle they can have it.' Ok, fine and dandy, but I don't have to look at it and I don't want my child around it."

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