Latta, S.C., backs gay police chief

Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:14 PM
Last updated 8:33 PM
  • Follow Latest News

LATTA, S.C. — When openly gay police chief Crystal Moore was fired by a mayor who condemned her lifestyle as “questionable,” she expected her two decade career in law enforcement was over.

Back | Next
Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore talks with friends at a fundraiser for a youth softball team in Latta, S.C. Residents stripped the mayor of powers after he fired the gay chief.   JEFFREY COLLINS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JEFFREY COLLINS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore talks with friends at a fundraiser for a youth softball team in Latta, S.C. Residents stripped the mayor of powers after he fired the gay chief.

Then, this conservative, small town rebelled.

The people of Latta, who voted overwhelmingly for a state amendment banning gay marriage eight years ago, turned against the mayor, stripped him of his powers and rehired Moore. They said her dedication to the town mattered more than her sexual orientation.

Residents remembered Moore’s civic spirit from as far back as 1989, when Hurricane Hugo tore through Latta. She was a high school student working part time as a police dispatcher, and helped cut downed tree limbs to clean up the debris. This February, when an ice storm crippled the town and left it without power for days, Moore piled her officers in her SUV and checked on as many people as she could.

“That’s Crystal. All she does is help people. I don’t get why he fired her. Maybe it’s the ignorant people who talk the loudest. She was the same great Crystal yesterday as she is today, and she’ll be the same person tomorrow,” said lifelong Latta resident Dottie Walters.

Mayor Earl Bullard vehemently denied that he fired Moore because she was gay. Instead, he said she was dismissed for “sheer insubordination” during the three months he was her boss.

Moore said she hadn’t received a single reprimand during her career until Bullard presented her with seven the day she was fired. Word of her termination spread fast in this tobacco hub of about 1,400 people, just off Interstate 95.

The support for Moore grew when the town’s Councilman Jarett Taylor started secretly recording his conversations with the mayor, which is legal in South Carolina.

In a conversation released to reporters after Moore was fired in April, the mayor said: “I’d much rather have somebody 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 it’s supposed to be.”

Bullard, who has avoided reporters for much of the past three months, told The Associated Press that was him on the tape. And he offered no apologies.

“I don’t like the homosexual ways portrayed in front of children,” Bullard told AP by telephone Thursday. “You can’t explain to a 5-year-old why another child has two mommies or two daddies.”

Within days of Moore’s firing, the town council passed a vote of confidence in her, demanding the mayor hire her back. They also set up an election that would strip the mayor of his power.

Moore, who played softball at Latta High School, walked up and down the streets for days before the vote, explaining her side of the story and calling for change. Last month, 69 percent of 475 voters approved of taking the mayor’s power away. It’s not clear what he is going to do next. He ran unopposed in 2013 and still has three years left on his term.

When Moore returned to work June 30, people honked their car horns and gave her thumbs up as she drove around in her police SUV.

“Crystal is a good chief and she loves this town,” said Taylor, the councilman. “It made me proud of my town to see everybody come out for her the way they did.”

Moore’s firing turned her into an unlikely activist. Before, she would bring her partner to civic festivals, but avoided gay pride events because she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.

Now she travels about once a week to talk to gay groups and encourage laws to stop discrimination against homosexuals. South Carolina does not have a statewide ban on firing people because of sexual orientation.

“I think things are going to change, like they did in the civil rights movement,” Moore said.

State unemployment officials sided with Moore as well, voting she was fired without cause and thus eligible for back pay and benefits for the two months she didn’t have a job.

The fight left Moore with nearly $20,000 in legal bills. About $8,000 has been pledged from people through a Facebook site, but that still leaves a lot of debt for someone who makes less than $40,000 a year running a 10-officer department.

So the town is arranging a yet-to-be determined fundraiser.

“It’s just remarkable,” Moore said. “I can’t ever thank this place enough.”

Comments (30) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
OJP
7493
Points
OJP 07/13/14 - 01:05 pm
11
3
The Mayor said he'd rather have a drunk watch his kids

than a gay person.

No wonder the town stripped him of power. He's an extremist with bad judgment.

Farmboy
1003
Points
Farmboy 07/13/14 - 01:36 pm
10
1
A hard, dedicated worker.

The world needs more people like that. It's important to be kind. It's important to go thru life with a good heart and a postive attitude.

itsanotherday1
47013
Points
itsanotherday1 07/13/14 - 02:12 pm
9
1
We could sure use more people

We could sure use more people with character like hers and less with character like his.

Sweet son
11095
Points
Sweet son 07/13/14 - 02:18 pm
10
1
The truth of the matter is that ever since women entered the law

enforcement field some were gay and it didn't matter if she could do the job. It wasn't discussed and it wasn't necessary. Keep up the good work Chief Moore.

jimmymac
45780
Points
jimmymac 07/13/14 - 02:22 pm
1
0
FOOL
Unpublished

The people of Latta have a fool for a mayor. The police chief should be evaluated by her performance rather than her sexuality. Being gay isn't against the law and it's the mayor who should be removed. Congratulations to the citizens for rallying on her behalf.

corgimom
36810
Points
corgimom 07/13/14 - 02:34 pm
5
8
“I don’t like the homosexual

“I don’t like the homosexual ways portrayed in front of children,” Bullard told AP by telephone Thursday. “You can’t explain to a 5-year-old why another child has two mommies or two daddies.”

Back in the old days when parents had COMMON SENSE, when a child asked a question that an adult didn't want to answer, or that they were too young to understand, they said things like "You'll learn that when you're older", or "It's not your business what adults do", or "We don't get involved in other people's personal business", or they would just ignore the question.

For some strange reason, adults now feel obligated to answer every child's question, no matter how rude, snoopy, or inappropriate it is.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 07/13/14 - 03:43 pm
6
7
Corgi, what's wrong with

Corgi, what's wrong with accurately explaining the world to a child?

Is there shame in knowing what is true?

Why perpetuate the tendency to be ashamed or embarrassed by reality? After all, reality is where we live, regardless of our attempts to deny it.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 07/13/14 - 04:00 pm
4
5
For example

For example, regarding Bullard's apparent inability to deal with simple reality:

“You can’t explain to a 5-year-old why another child has two mommies or two daddies.”

Really? Try this:

"Some children have a mommy and a daddy. Some children have two mommies. And some children have two daddies."

Not difficult.

corgimom
36810
Points
corgimom 07/13/14 - 04:52 pm
7
5
burninator, 5 year olds do

burninator, 5 year olds do not have the maturity or life experience to understand. Most of them don't even understand the concept of "daughters" and "sons", and need "marriage" explained to them.

And back in the old days, children were not allowed to ask rude, snoopy questions about adults, because how other people live is none of a child's business.

cush1944
12641
Points
cush1944 07/13/14 - 06:21 pm
7
1
It wasn't discussed and it

It wasn't discussed and it wasn't necessary. Keep up the good work Chief Moore.
Amen

nocnoc
47361
Points
nocnoc 07/13/14 - 06:36 pm
6
0
Well I Guess I'll avoid Latt SC

Unless I want to end up in the "Pokey"☺

All humor aside, If she is doing her job, and not dancing in the Homosexual Parade or arresting possible female dates.
What difference does her sexuality make?

How I will say she wears the "L" like a flag for date advertising.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 07/13/14 - 07:32 pm
3
4
"burninator, 5 year olds do

"burninator, 5 year olds do not have the maturity or life experience to understand."
------
How is there anything complex to understand in this?

Some kids have a mom and a dad, some have two moms, and some have two dads.

What more needs to be explained?

Is it too complex for them to understand a "mom and a dad"? Is it rude or snooping to know that a kid has a "mom and a dad"? If a five year old asks why children have a "mom and dad", do you hush them up and tell them it's none of their business?

I'm guessing not. So why act different when it's a mom and a mom, or a dad and a dad?

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 07/13/14 - 08:33 pm
2
1
Know thyself

"Pokey"

"...dancing in the Homosexual Parade or arresting possible female dates..."

"...wears the "L" like a flag for date advertising."

...

"What difference does her sexuality make?"

For some, it appears to be their primary focus.

corgimom
36810
Points
corgimom 07/13/14 - 07:51 pm
5
3
Burniator, 5 year olds are

Burniator, 5 year olds are just coming out of toddlerhood.

They are still figuring out what's real and what's pretend.

Half of them believe that superheroes are real. They believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. All of them believe that vampires are real.

And yes, it is rude for a child to ask questions about other adults.

How is it their business?

Not all children have a mother and father present in the home. Some children, due to death, divorce, and out of wedlock births, don't remember having a father in the home. And yes, it is rude and snooping for a child to ask, "Does "Susie" have a dad? Why not? Where is he?"

It is not inappropriate to teach a child that it is impolite to ask questions about other people's family. Because it IS impolite.

If people would go back to the manners that children were taught in the old days, this country would be in far better shape.

Children at that age, also take a simple fact and, due to their immaturity and social development, can garble things and conjure things in their imagination, and then tell it as gospel truth.

While it's up to a parent as to what to tell a child, it is a very bad idea to get into matters like this with small children. They just aren't old enough to understand this.

They are still trying to understand the idea that some kids have two parents at home and some only have one, let alone same-sex parenting. You take it a step at a time.

griff6035
4223
Points
griff6035 07/13/14 - 08:05 pm
3
3
Gays

Must be a lot of them in Latta SC.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 07/13/14 - 08:32 pm
2
4
"And yes, it is rude for a

"And yes, it is rude for a child to ask questions about other adults.

How is it their business?"
-----
Because it is a part of their world, and they have a right to know about, and ask questions about, the reality of the world they inhabit.

--------
"If people would go back to the manners that children were taught in the old days, this country would be in far better shape."

I disagree 100%. To the extent this country is a mess, a large part of it is because too many kids were taught NOT to ask questions and were discouraged from developing an honest view of reality. This conditioned ignorance is how bigotry has been perpetuated, and why leaders and demagogues are often followed unquestioningly.

It is no accident that the recent surge in gay rights has largely started in our youth, as younger generations are less likely to have been conditioned to avoid asking any questions that an adult may disapprove of.

I agree with many of your posts corgi, but it saddens me that you are in a position to continue the oppressive conditioning that teaches children to be afraid to ask difficult questions.

Airman
3817
Points
Airman 07/14/14 - 02:08 am
8
1
Homosexuality

is a sin when practiced, so is theft, murder etc. She is doing her job and a hard worker leave her alone. I do not personally approve of the homosexual lifestyle, but I am taught to love my neighbor as myself. As long as you do not push your lifestyle on me we can get along. One thing I do detest is the open display of affection, not hand hold or a kiss on the check so to speak, by anyone, homo or hetero sexual. Some things are for behind closed doors. If she is doing the job as reported in the article I say keep her on and flush the homophobe mayor

Airman
3817
Points
Airman 07/14/14 - 02:11 am
7
0
The comment about a five year

The comment about a five year old is off the charts. At five all I new was their was a difference in equipment but no idea what that equipment was for. A five year old has no idea about straight versus gay, unless of course they are a prodigy.

Airman
3817
Points
Airman 07/14/14 - 02:23 am
5
1
Burninator

said, " but it saddens me that you are in a position to continue the oppressive conditioning that teaches children to be afraid to ask difficult questions."
A very good statement, I taught all three of mine to come to me with any questions and they did. Yes it was ackward at times but all three of my boys have grown up to be very succesful and no fears of having to ask mom or dad a question. During the Magic Johnson AIDS admission in the 80's my son asked me what was gay sex. He was 8 years old. I was caught off guard but I stammered a minute but finally was able to explain it to him.
Yes we need to teach our children not to fear us but to look to us for guidence and have no fear of asking an adults questions.
Thanks for your input

corgimom
36810
Points
corgimom 07/14/14 - 06:25 am
3
1
There is a world of

There is a world of difference in a child asking a question about sex and asking a personal question about specific other people.

And that's part of the problem of today, in that parents don't teach children that we don't worry about what other people do, and we don't comment upon it.

That's not bigotry at all, that's tolerance. That's manners. That's teaching children to mind their own business and to not ask personal questions about other people, which is a part of manners that is sorely lacking today.

Now, in this day of "honesty", adults are supposed to discuss everything and anything with children, when they are too young to understand. And they encourage their children to ask questions of adults that are none of their business and don't need to know, all in the name of "honesty".

And then, of course, kids can't keep anything to themselves, and then they tell all their friends- but because they are children, they get things confused, and wind up telling outlandish things to their friends. And that's how people get hurt, when untruths are said about them.

corgimom
36810
Points
corgimom 07/14/14 - 06:35 am
1
3
And you know, the older I

And you know, the older I get, and the more I see, the more I realize that my parents knew what they were doing, when they told me (on more than one occasion), "It's none of your business what adults do."

nocnoc
47361
Points
nocnoc 07/14/14 - 07:28 am
4
0
"It's none of your business what adults do."

Unless they do it in public then it becomes every ones business.

Bizkit
34416
Points
Bizkit 07/14/14 - 08:03 am
3
0
Now they suggest teaching

Now they suggest teaching children about sex at age 2-3. Use anatomical correct nomenclature and basic info. The only issue I had parenting was when we accidentally opened a transsexual site while doing a search. Hard to describe to a little girl, but we need to teach that nudity isn't about sex. It can be art, anatomy, or sex , but I fear we just emphasize sex, which is very narrow minded. The caveat of teaching the science of sex it is about procreation and not pleasure-homosexual activity isn't about procreation-so the science drops out of the equation. We need to do something because online porno has been demonstrated to disrupt normal social interactions with our young males- studies show. Young males are developing denigrating attitude towards women and difficulty forming normal associations.l

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 07/14/14 - 09:18 am
3
0
This was a darn good decision by the people!!

I've always supported the PEOPLE, when they make such decisions!! This woman's job has nothing to do with her personal relationship choices in life!! As long as she manages the police department well and enforces the laws, who cares about her personal life!!! Her choices are between her and God, and those two only!! People CAN be darn good people, and gay!!

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 07/14/14 - 09:31 am
3
1
Burninator

"How is there anything complex to understand in this?

Some kids have a mom and a dad, some have two moms, and some have two dads.

What more needs to be explained?"

How about explaining it, using NATURE?? No, according to nature; children DO NOT have two mommies or two daddies, period!! It's IMPOSSIBLE and you can't explain it rationally, using NATURE!! Your "explanation" is based solely upon emotions and theory, not REALITY!! Because REALITY, is that it's impossible to have two biological mommies or daddies!! When you explain to a child how babies are made, how do you explain to them how to mommies have a baby?? You can't, because THEY CAN'T!! So ANY explanation that doesn't include the TRUTH, will only confuse children further!! Which, I believe (my opinion) is the purpose, to confuse right and wrong and truth from fiction!!

Now, I do somewhat like how Corgimom said she would respond to the questions; but I would answer it somewhat differently. I don't care to go into great depth, as it would take an even longer comment. But I would not teach them to hate ANYONE, but would explain to them about FREE WILL and how people make their own decisions in life. I would also explain to them about NATURE and that those people's choices are against nature and God!! (I'm sure you'll despise that last part)

Bizkit
34416
Points
Bizkit 07/14/14 - 09:44 am
2
0
Myfather they must be anti-

Myfather they must be anti- science. Isn't that usual accusation concerning evolution. But now point out the objective of sex is reproduction and your a bigot. Anal sex whether a male or female anus just isn't going to make baby.LOL

corgimom
36810
Points
corgimom 07/14/14 - 11:51 am
1
2
Bizkit, what is wrong with

Bizkit, what is wrong with teaching children the proper name for body parts, instead of cutesy little names?

That's not sex, that's human anatomy.

There's a difference.

We teach kids "head", "arm", "leg", and so why wouldn't we teach children the correct names for all their body parts?

When kids start school, and they announce to us that their (think ridiculous name) hurts, we think, "Why is anybody allowing their child to still use baby talk, what are they accomplishing?"

There is a vast difference between teaching children the parts of their body and discussing adult sexuality issues.

And if you want to think that the objective is sex is reproduction, you are free to think that, but that's just not true. We aren't animals, we are humans, and sex is so much more than that.

By that theory, why would post-menopausal women have sex?

corgimom
36810
Points
corgimom 07/14/14 - 11:58 am
0
1
"Because REALITY, is that

"Because REALITY, is that it's impossible to have two biological mommies or daddies!! "

That is why discussing those issues with children who are far too young to understand human sexuality is a very bad idea.

Back when parents had COMMON SENSE, they knew that some subjects needed to wait until a child was much older, where they could understand.

They weren't "oppressive", they understood that there is no need for small children to discuss adult sexuality issues.

Let children be children!

Because of "honesty", we now have 5 year olds that want to tell everybody in the classroom "how babies are born"- and they tell the most preposterous things that aren't true.

We don't allow discussions like that, they are not appropriate for 5 year olds.

Bizkit
34416
Points
Bizkit 07/14/14 - 01:02 pm
2
0
Corgi I never stated I had a

Corgi I never stated I had a problem with sex education. Where do you get that? Just discussing what the guidelines are now. Of course they should proper scientific names- never said otherwise. But you are wrong about sex biologically- it is purely about reproduction because evolutionarily and biologically the only thing we can contribute is passing along our genes. You don't reproduce you have a fitness of zero. The more offspring and contribution to the gene pool you fitness increases. Sociologically and psychologically it's another story. There are different age dependent guidelines starting at 2-3', and going up. Really a much better way than my day of no sex education and everyone figuring it out. I think the perspective of seeing nudity as anatomy and art is -much like the ancient Greeks - is much healthier than tawdry porno. Emphasize sex is about reproduction- the pleasure is just a bonus. It is like photosynthesis. I ask students what is the main purpose.? They usually answer " making oxygen Dr. Biz . The I say no!,, it's main purpose is to fix carbon from air to make sugars- the oxygen is just a by product. Sex is much the same

Bizkit
34416
Points
Bizkit 07/14/14 - 03:01 pm
1
0
Need to discuss " love " and

Need to discuss " love " and sex is an expression of love and we should have sex with one partner, because nature doesn't like promiscuity and retaliates with STDs and AIDS. While pleasurable it is for reproduction- so if you don't want to reproduce do something to prevent it. We seem to be caught up in sex as a cultural activity almost a sport. The repercussions of the activity are life changing and need to be discussed but mention single moms and you are a bigot.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs