Latta Mayor talks about firing, rehiring of town's police chief

Latta Mayor Earl Bullard speaking about Police Chief Crystal Moore and the issues in the town.

Latta Mayor Earl Bullard said he's kept quiet for far too long on why he fired Crystal Moore in April from her position as the town's police chief.

She's since been rehired by town council.

Bullard said he's gotten a bad rap since because Moore said she was fired because she's openly gay.

A town grievance committee disagreed.

Mayor Bullard said he's employed others who are gay and let Moore go because she had a problem with supervision.

"I've known Crystal was gay for years. I knew that, never held it against her. I've got gay folks in my family. Does that make me stop loving them? But what two consenting adults do behind their doors is their own business and none of mine. Her biggest problem was she forgot she had a boss. Because up until now, she didn't have one who expected things from her in a specific way. She resented me calling her in the morning. I talk to every department head there is in the morning," explained Bullard.

He said the town's change of government from Strong Mayor to Strong Council had nothing to do with moving Latta forward, but rather it was council's way to get back at him.

"It has nothing to do with the betterment of this town. If it did, I would have been on the band wagon a long time ago. There was a point in time, that I was all for the change in government. That's been 20 years ago because I thought it would work better. But then, when I get to thinking about it , it doesn't work better. Somebody has to be behind a desk or be on the street and make decisions concerning everyday problems. And right now people don't know who you go to. Who do you call? Everything I've done I've tried to do for the betterment of this community. But I assure that right now they're flying by the seat of their pants. They don't have a town attorney. They haven't had a town attorney for three months. We've got three lawsuits ongoing and no one to answer them."

Latta Town Councilman Jared Taylor said residents approved a referendum to change the form of government and he thinks the town is being better managed now than it has in a long time.

Taylor added they've talked with and met with a possible attorney for the town. He said council is just waiting for the attorney to accept their offer.

Bullard said council voted to move his office from Town Hall into a tiny room inside the town's art center across the street from Town Hall.

He's not upset about the move, but says there's no bathroom nearby so he either has to walk to town hall or get a key to go to a bathroom in the back of the arts center.

Taylor said Bullard knew he his office would be moved and he knew the location beforehand.

"Does he want us to build him a bathroom? Talk about childish," said Taylor.

Bullard questions why two police officers stood guard as he moved his belongings to his new office. He said he had a witness to film the police officers watching him and even going through his boxes.

"Is this a police state or are we still in America? Or what are they up to. Why all of this? I'm tired of people acting like children. I am tired of that. You and I can agree to disagree and we can be civil. I've tried to be civil, but these people don't understand civility."

Taylor responded by saying council doesn't trust Bullard. He said things get pretty heated when Bullard is around and that's why police were present when he was moving his belongings to the new office.

Bullard believes council is trying to push his buttons to provoke him to act unaccordingly, but says he refuses to stoop to their level.