LATTA, S.C. — The Latta, S.C. Town Council on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of two key measures supporting fired police Crystal Moore, who residents and council members speculate was fired by a homophobic mayor because the chief is gay.
Since the firing, there has been a landslide of support for Moore – and questions from townsfolk if she was fired because she is openly lesbian.
At a meeting Tuesday evening, the council voted 6-0 on an “emergency ordinance” to block Mayor Earl Bullard from hiring anyone to fill the police chief job for approximately two months, reported WBTW-TV.
The second vote of the night – also 6-0 – was a symbolic resolution to express support for Moore.
Bullard fired Moore last week after issuing her seven reprimands in one day — the only reprimands she’s received in her 20-year career with the Latta police force.
A recording by one councilman of the mayor defending his actions suggests that anti-gay bias may have played a role in Moore’s firing, and another council member said Bullard planned to fire Moore before he was even sworn in as mayor.
Councilman Jarett Taylor’s recording captures Bullard disparaging the chief’s “lifestyle” 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,” Bullard said.
Last week, the council voted in favor of a referendum to weaken the mayor’s power and become a “Council-strong / Mayor-weak town.” The next step for the town of Latta will be a vote by city residents on whether to change the town government structure.
The town must wait 60 days before conducting the referendum.
More on Tuesday night’s meeting from WBTW-TV: