|Courtesy of WBTW News|
Staff Reports | LATTA -- Residents and city council members of Latta, S.C., are questioning the abrupt firing of the town’s first female and openly lesbian police chief. Councilman Brian Mason says that Latta's Mayor Earl Bullard fired Chief Crystal Moore after writing her up in seven reprimands in a single day.
”I looked at the reasons, some of them are questionable,” Mason told WBTW News adding that those seven write-ups were more than the Chief had ever received in her 20 year long career with the town's police department.
Other council members think that Bullard fired Moore after she began an investigation into one of his appointees, the reprimands include citations for running “unauthorized” background checks, “questioning authority of supervisor,” “questioning authority of mayor,” “failure to maintain order” and “contacting the news media.”
However, according to one councilman who recorded the mayor's remarks defending his actions, anti-gay bias may have played a role. Councilman Jared Taylor's recording captures the mayor disparaging the chief's personal life and sexual orientation:
“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.”
The townspeople have also rallied around the chief, one resident saying; ”This woman has been a veteran of the department and a pillar of this community for years."
South Carolina is one of 29 states where it is legal to fire someone for being gay.