Council hears grievances against former Latta police chief

Crystal Moore at her grievance hearing Monday.
Crystal Moore at her grievance hearing Monday.

LATTA, SOUTH CAROLINA (WMBF) The former Police Chief of Latta, who said she was fired last month because of her sexual orientation, had a grievance hearing Monday.

The grievance council has 20 days from May 19 to decide if the firing of the former Police Chief was justified or had ill intent behind it. Their decision will go to the town council.

Arguments supporting and denying the seven reprimands that led to former Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore's firing were heard at that grievance hearing.

The reported reprimands are:

- Running background checks without properly signed authorization

- Failure to report to supervisor about problems in other departments

- Using office/position to seek revenge against another for personal affront

- Questioning authority of supervisor

- Questioning authority of mayor to look at job applications for potential employees

- Failure to maintain order, contributing to disorder at council meetings

- Contacting news media to help bring about disorder and disruption to the town of Latta

Moore was let go in mid-April after refusing to sign off on the disciplinary actions. She's been a member of Latta's Police force for 23 years.

Moore and Latta Mayor Earl Bullard went before a four-person panel to discuss the decision to fire Moore.

Both Moore's attorney and the Latta Town's Attorney presented documents to back the arguments they presented before the panel.

"She did not do anything to deserve to be fired and of course we are looking at other possible legal actions, but here real desire is to have her job back," said Malissa Burnett, Moore's Attorney.

But Mayor Bullard said South Carolina is not a right to work state and that his power as mayor is to do what's right to further promote the town, even if that means firing an employee.

The grievance council has 20 days to come back with verdict.

Once that verdict is given, it will go to council. Ultimately Mayor Earl Bullard has the final say so, because in Latta, the mayor has more power than council.

In June, a referendum will decide whether that should continue to happen, or if council should have power over the mayor.

Hear more from our interview with the former police chief here:

When we asked if Moore's sexual orientation was behind her firing, Mayor Bullard said: "No ma'am, nothing at all. Not a thing."

Shortly after Moore's firing, the town council voted to delay the process of hiring a new police chief by two months, hoping the delay would give her the chance to get her job back.

On June 24, the citizens of Latta will vote on whether they want to change the structure of the town's government to reduce the power of the mayor and give the council more power.

After Moore's firing in mid-April, over 100 citizens marched outside the Latta town council meeting to protest. Read more here:

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