Fired S.C. Lesbian Police Chief Is Reinstated

By Julissa Catalan

Two months after allegedly being fired for her sexual orientation, Crystal Moore has returned to her job as police chief of Latta, S.C.

Moore was born and raised in Latta, which has a population of 1,350. Most of its townspeople rallied behind Moore, who had been with the police department for 23 years, when Mayor Earl Bullard reportedly fired her for being gay.

A recording of a conversation between Bullard and a town-council member soon surfaced, in which Bullard says Moore’s “lifestyle is questionable.” “I’m not going to let two women stand up there and hold hands and let my child be aware,” Bullard says on the recording.

The mayor went on to say that he would rather have a drunk than a homosexual take care of his children, and said he did not approve of gay lifestyles.

When questioned, Bullard denied dismissing Moore for being a lesbian, but said he would not disclose his real reason.

Last week, residents voted 328-147 to take away Bullard’s authority to hire and fire. The town is now run as a strong-council, weak-mayor type of government.

Still, Bullard attempted to hire a new police chief, even having his candidate sign a two-year contract, which was to go into effect July 1.

Jarrett Taylor, the councilman who recorded the phone conversation with Bullard, said the council voted Friday to invalidate the contract. The prospective chief was notified Friday and did not show up to claim the job on Monday, Taylor said.

“The people have finally gotten what they wanted,” Taylor said, adding, “This town has really come together behind Crystal.”

On Monday, when Moore reported for work at town hall, she was greeted by Latta residents who cheered and honked their horns in support.

“One thing this experience taught me is that if you are honest, loyal and dedicated, people will stand behind you” regardless of sexual identity, Moore said.

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