An openly gay chief of police has been fired by a South Carolina mayor who was caught saying he’d rather have an alcoholic look after his child than a gay person.
Crystal Moore, a 20-year veteran with the Latta Police Department, was relieved of her duties as chief of police on Tuesday following seven reprimands handed down by newly elected Mayor of Latta, Earl Bullard.
Council member Jared Taylor provided WBTW with a recording of a phone call in which the mayor makes several anti-gay remarks.
“I would much rather have – and I will say this to anybody’s face – somebody who drank and drank too much taking care of my child than I had somebody whose lifestyle is questionable around children,” Mr Bullard said on the call. “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.”
Council member Lutherine Williams said: “We have codes, but this mayor refuses to obey anything in that book he don’t want to.”
“Before he was sworn in [as mayor], he said … Crystal would not have a job,” the council member told WBTW.
Mr Bullard claims Ms Moore conducted a background check without authorisation, questioned the authority of a supervisor and contacted “news media to help bring about disorder and disruption to the town of Latta,” among other alleged misconduct.
However, Ms Moore says his actions are downright homophobic.
“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,” she said after her dismissal.
As well as council members, who have refused to acknowledge her termination, Latta residents were furious by the new mayor’s move and showed their disapproval by protesting Ms Moore’s termination at City Hall on Thursday.
“This woman has been a veteran of the department and a pillar of this community for years,” Kevin Drawhorn, a Latta resident and supporter of Ms Moore.