"I went from being ecstatic, overwhelmed, not able to speak to crushed again," Crystal Moore said.
The current firestorm that developed in the past week in the small town of Latta SC began some say, when Mayor Earl Bullard had won an uncontested election for the office of mayor. The word around town was that Bullard did nor take too kindly to gays and lesbians. Police Chief Crystal Moore, the town's first woman and the first openly gay chief was warned to watch her back. The town council even went so far as to pass a vote of confidence for Moore during it's February meeting.
The Bullard hammer fell on April 15 2014 when Bullard called Chief Moore into hus office after she had finished with a meeting she was helping mediate. When she had stepped into his office, he handed her a pile of seven reprimands and told her to read each of them out loud. Moore states that they related to policy or to an investigation she was doing and that a few were laughable. She did read them and then told Bullard that she wanted to speak to her lawyer before doing anything. Mayor Bullard then told her that she had to sign off on them before leaving the office or she would be fired. Moore refused and Bullard fired her on the spot, asking for her badge.
Bullard has not publicly explained the reason behind his firing of Moore but has stated that it had nothing to do with her sexual orientation and personnel policy prevents him saying anything more. It certainly is strange that a person who has served the small town of 1,400 residents for over 20 years would suddenly start breaking the rules by the bucketful. It could be that Bullard was enjoying the greater power he had to make decisions in town than the council or it truly is a case of firing her because he personally didn't like gays or lesbians.
While many of us think that discrimination involving a person's sexual orientation is not allowed by law in the US, you had better think twice. Twenty nine of our fifty states still allow an employee to be legally fired because of their sexual orientation, be it gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender etc. The states that still allow this are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. That would make it technically possible for Bullard to fire Moore.
"This is the first time it has been this public. I'd tried living a quiet decent life and do what I'm supposed to," Moore said.
The vendetta that Moore believes may be the real reason for her being fired is backed up by a recording that Councilman Jared Taylor had made and has since released. He stated that he had made the recording for his own protection in case Bullard tried to claim that Taylor held the same beliefs as him. The full text that was released definitely points to Bullard's real feelings about those who are not the same as him. The following is the part of Taylor's recording that has been released to the media:
"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.
*** Update June 29 2014:
The town council in Latta SC reinstated Chrystal Moore as their police chief Friday at a specially called meeting that was held just 12 hours after they received the power to vote under their new power structure. The vote was 6-0 since Bullard did not choose to attend and exercise his vote.
Moore will begin work again on Monday June 30 at the job she has loved all of her life. There was the "small" issue of what to do with Davis who Bullard had hired and tried to slip under the door into the job, The town council voted to send him a letter of termination stating that his recent employment was illegal. It seems that the original contract needed to have the town seal on it to make it official and Bullard must have forgotten to have that done when he was out at McDonald's hiring Davis. It may seem like a minor thing but it certainly saves the town from having to pay Davis for two years while he did "nothing."
The Friday meeting was held in the town community center because the town hall was still sealed with evidence tape and awaiting an investigation by the State's Law Enforcement division. The council believes that some type of suspicious activity happened there this week and they now have to request that the investigation be made. There is no word as to what they believe may have happened there.
In the end though...................... a town has stood up for Moore for the person she is and the job she done all these years and has not given into one person's beliefs about sexual orientation. As for Bullard..........Hang 'em high since he wants to run his town like the old west.