Latta mayor fires police chief because she was a lesbian
LATTA — Latta Mayor Earl Bullard abused his power on Tuesday afternoon and fired the town’s first woman police chief because she is a lesbian.
In a move unexpected by South Carolina standards, many people in this Dillon County town known for its rabid support of the Vikings athletics were rightfully angry at the mayor for the dismissal of Police Chief Crystal Moore, which is (sadly) legal in South Carolina.
“This woman has been a veteran of the department and a pillar of this community for years,” said Kevin Drawhorn, a Latta resident and supporter of Chief Moore.
Some town council members say Bullard didn’t follow protocol when he fired Chief Moore. The group discussed the issue in a meeting Thursday.
“We have codes, but this Mayor refuses to obey anything in that book he don’t want to,” said Lutherine Williams, another Latta Council member.
Specifically, she says, Bullard should have first given Chief Moore a verbal warning, then a written one. Then, discuss the matter with council before axing her.
Council members say that Bullard didn’t do any of that.
“If an employee does something, you don’t wait three or four days or two or three weeks to do something about it,” said Councilwoman Williams.
Instead, Council Williams says the mayor gave Chief Moore all seven written reprimands within a span of 17 hours. They were her first reprimands during her 20-plus years on the job as both a deputy for the Latta Police Office and as Police Chief. (Click here to read all 7 of the reprimands from the Mayor)
“I looked at the reasons, some of them are questionable,” said Brian Mason, another Latta Council member.
Some residents believe the mayor firing was retaliation, which is also legal in South Carolina as it is a right-to-work state. Chief Moore investigated Bullard’s most recent hire, Parks And Rec Director Vontray Sellers.
WBTW broke the story about Sellers driving a Latta town vehicle while his license was suspended. This was two months ago.
When News 13 brought that nugget of information to Chief Moore’s attention, she did her job and started investigating. She found that the mayor neglected to conduct a background check on Sellers.
“Since he’s been in here, it’s been haywire!,” said Tammy Taylor, another Latta resident.
Other residents of the town said that Bullard had a vendetta against Chief Moore because she is openly lesbian.
“Before he was sworn in office, he said Anne and Crystal would not have a job,” said Councilwoman Williams.
WBTW also has phone conversations to back up those claims. The conversations recorded Mayor Bullard as saying he “doesn’t agree with some lifestyles.”
The convo is above in images.
On Thursday, the town council voted to correct this by putting a referendum on the November 4 ballot that, if passed, would significantly weaken the power of the mayor.
Chief Moore was among 50 present in Thursday’s meeting.
“I can’t believe that we still have no equal rights. That’s the biggest issue. I’ve been harassed, intimidated. This is the first time it’s been this public. I’d tried living a quiet decent life and do what I’m supposed to,” said Chief Moore.
About 130 of the 270 municipalities have a council-strong form of government, including the Town of Williston. If the referendum passes, Latta will be the 131st town/city with that form of government.
WBTW News 13 residents react
WBTW News 13 council meeting
NADPS says that woman who gunned down sleeping husband in front of children was possessing narcotics in front of children
NORTH AUGUSTA — You may remember this 20-year-old woman who was arrested and charged with murdering her husband ten days ago.
Now, new details about what happened ten days ago are coming out.
Terry Ashton, 20, was arrested ten days ago by the North Augusta Department of Public Safety was was originally charged with only the slaying of her husband, 21. Late that night, NADPS added five charges to the list: possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and four counts of child neglect — one charge for each child that was present during the murder.
Warrants said that Terry was placing her children of unreasonable risk of harm by manufacturing marijuana at their residence on WEST HUGH ST. Although nothing about narcotics were mentioned at the time of Terry’s arrest, the NADPS said that they will not seek any additional child neglect charges against Terry for the marijuana. To reiterate, those child neglect charges are for the domestic violence slaying that the four children were spectators to.
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