Former town of Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore, who had claimed she was fired because she is lesbian, now has her old job back.
The Latta Town Council held a special meeting Friday night just hours after Dillon County election officials certified the results of last week’s referendum. Town voters had been asked whether council — and not the mayor — should have the power to hire and fire the chief.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day since the day I was fired,” Moore told reporters after the meeting, according to WMBF News.
Mayor Earl Bullard fired Moore back in April. He said at the time that the firing came after Moore refused to sign seven reprimands that Bullard presented to her on the same day (the first reprimands she had received in more than 20 years at the position). But Town Councilman Jared Taylor provided audio recordings that show Bullard explaining he did not want Moore in the chief’s job because of her “lifestyle.”
The mayor was not at Friday’s meeting,
The firing brought national attention to the small Pee Dee town of roughly 1,400 people. Much of the attention focused on South Carolina’s workplace laws, which gay rights groups say do not offer any protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The town’s citizens voted overwhelmingly on June 24 to give hiring power to the council instead of the mayor.
But Bullard tried to preempt the council by hiring a new chief Freddy Davis. WPDE-TV reports Davis signed the contract a day before voters went to the polls, with an $80,000 buyout if council fired him. However councilmembers argue the contract is not valid because the mayor did not notify them of the hiring as town ordinances require. The council fired Davis just minutes before rehiring Moore. It appears Davis’ firing could end up in court.