Huge crowd for Latta Town Council meeting after police chief fired
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:23:31 GMT —
It was standing room only for Thursday night's Latta Town Council meeting. Only people who lived inside town limits were allowed inside the chambers, but people spilled out into the hallways and outside town hall.
The people were there in support of Police Chief Crystal Moore who was fired by Mayor Earl Bullard on Tuesday.
Council members had said they wanted to try and reinstate her to the position, but at the meeting, the mayor said he wanted to discuss her firing in executive session.
Council members refused to do so, saying they wanted it discussed out in the open.
"I did not and other council members did not want to discuss it behind closed door. We felt this was a matter of the town, and the town people should hear about it," said Latta Councilman Jarett Taylor.
Ultimately, they said they could not vote to reinstate her, because under the current form of government, which is a strong-mayor weak-council, they said they do not have the authority to do so.
At the meeting, council members did decide to have an election on June 24th to let voters decide whether to change form of government to a council-run government.
Support has been strong for the police chief since the mayor said she was fired on Tuesday.
A group of people picketed outside the Latta Town Hall Wednesday morning.
The group held signs and marched in front of the town hall calling Latta Town Mayor Earl Bullard a bully.
WPDE NewsChannel asked Moore why she thought she was let-go.
"About two weeks before he actually became mayor, the citizens started telling me that I needed to watch my back. That he was gunning for me, because of my sexuality," Moore said.
Moore is an openly gay woman.
WPDE NewsChannel 15 called Mayor Bullard for his response, but has not received a call back.
Mayor Bullard has said he can't say why he fired Moore because it's a personnel matter
On the day she was fired, Mayor Bullard gave Moore several written letters of reprimand. Latta Councilman Jared Taylor has said Bullard fired Moore because she refused to sign those letters because she wanted her attorney to look at them first.
WPDE NewsChannel 15 obtained those letters of reprimand. Here's what they say:
1). Nature of Misconduct:
-Questioning the authority of Mayor to look at potential job applicant's application before hiring even when asked more than once.
2). Nature of Misconduct:
- Questioning the authority of the Supervisor to call you in the morning to check on your plans for the day.
3). Nature of Misconduct:
- Using office or position to seek revenge against another for a personally viewed affront.
4). Nature of Misconduct:
- Running background checks without properly signed authorization.
5). Nature of Misconduct:
- Failure to report to another department (Rec.) with a officer from another dept. (Sheriff's Office) working for Town of Latta, but instead going to Sheriff first.
6). Nature of Misconduct:
- Contacting various News Media to help bring about discord and disruption to Town of Latta.
7). Nature of Misconduct:
- Failure to maintain order and contributing to disorder at council meeting held April 10th 2014, March 13, 2014 and February 2014.
Bullard said he's named Derrick Cartwright as the Interim Latta Police Chief.