City Council members of Latta, S.C., are probing why homophobic Mayor Earl Bullard suddenly fired Police Chief Crystal Moore, an out lesbian who has served with distinction on the town’s police department for 20 years.
Bullard, who has written about his hatred for LGBT people on Facebook and elsewhere, suddenly dismissed Moore after she opened an investigation into whether city vehicles were being used improperly by another city official. Her investigation discovered that Bullard had failed to conduct a proper background check on the employee, Parks and Recreations Director Vontray Sellers.
City Council members are condemning Bullards for his unilateral and suspiciously timed action against Moore. Bullard issued seven reprimands in a single day against Moore. They were the first reprimands she has ever received in more than 20 years on the force.
City Councilman Jared Taylor provided local news affiliate WBTW with an audio recording of a phone call between Bullard and him during which the mayor said he wouldn’t let his children be exposed to “questionable” lifestyles, and would rather have an alcoholic be responsible for his kids than a gay person.
“I would much rather have someone 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 that they’re supposed to be,” Bullard is heard saying on the recording. “I don’t agree with some of the lifestyles that I see portrayed and I don’t say anything because that’s the way they want to live. But I’m not going to let my child be around. I’m not going to let two 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 two men neither. I’m not going to do it, because that ain’t the way the world works.”
Councilwoman Lutherine Williams appeared before nearly 100 people outside of City Hall on April 17 in a show of support for Moore. Williams and other council members intended to discuss Moore’s firing at a town council meeting that evening, but Bullard refused to discuss the matter at all, to the disappointment of the dozens who crammed into the chambers in search of an explanation.