SLED looks into Latta council's investigation request

SLED agents wrap up one part of their investigation at Latta Town Hall on Tuesday. | Source: WMBF News
SLED agents wrap up one part of their investigation at Latta Town Hall on Tuesday. | Source: WMBF News

LATTA, SC (WMBF) - Agents from the State Law Enforcement Division are processing information gathered from Latta Town Hall to determine if an investigation will be conducted.

Two SLED agents went inside Town Hall at around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, and they left around 1:30 p.m.

The agents gathered information to determine whether they should launch an investigation into alleged suspicious activity that took place at Town Hall.

Town council members said the complaints were voiced following last week's election, which took power from the mayor and gave it to council.

"Complaints have come in from citizens and employees after the government changed. Town Council felt like we had a responsibility to our constituents to find out what was going on," Latta Councilman Jarett Taylor said.

Latta Town Councilman Jarett Taylor said those complaints led council members to seal Town Hall on Friday and request that SLED investigate.

Latta Town Police told WMBF News last week, a town employee was seen at night working behind the town's counter.

"Some lights being on a little late had something to do with it, yes. It was at a time of night when most town employees except police department employees are at home with their families," Jarett Taylor said.

Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore said the department is helping SLED with this preliminary investigation.

Moore said SLED investigators questioned some town employees.

Once this portion of SLED's preliminary investigation wrapped up, town hall re-opened for business.

At that time, Councilman Taylor explained why council had Town Hall sealed off Friday afternoon.

"Other than changing locks, we felt like the quickest, easiest way at that time and point in the day was to go ahead and secure everything off with tape ... That was a council decision, to seal everything off with tape," Taylor explained.

Other than confirmation of employee interviews, it's not clear what other type of evidence those SLED agents took with them.

WMBF News cameras did not see anything being taken out in boxes.

At next week's council meeting, as long as agents are finished with their reports, council members will talk about this preliminary investigation in full.

Meanwhile, the man hired to fill the Latta Police Chief Position, before Crystal Moore was re-instated, has hired an attorney.

In a legal document, which Latta Town Councilman Jarett Taylor said came on Monday, Freddie Davis's Attorney ask Latta council members if Davis is still employed by the town, because Davis said he's been getting conflicting reports.

Freddie Davis was hired last week by Latta Mayor Earl Bullard, who at the time of Davis' hire still had the power to hire and fire town employees.

On Friday, after a certified election referendum vote, hiring and firing power was taken from the mayor and given to Latta Town Council.

Council members also voted to give former Latta Police Chief Crystal Moore her job back during the meeting –after she was terminated back in April for refusing to sign off on seven reprimands. Moore believes she was fired because she is gay.

Just before Moore was hired back at last Friday's Council meeting, council members voted to send a letter to Freddie Davis terminating his contract, stating it had no standing.

"At the particular point in time that we sent the letter we had no intentions on hiring Mr. Davis. We still have no intentions on hiring Mr. Davis as police chief. If he wants to come over and look at another position in our employment then that's up to him," Taylor said.

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