Former Latta police chief files federal lawsuit against town, town administrator over 2016 firing
LATTA, S.C. (WMBF) – Latta’s former police chief has filed a federal lawsuit against the town and the town’s administrator surrounding her firing nearly five years ago.
Back in September 2016, Crystal Moore was terminated from her position after a series of reprimands in her file and a suspension that failed to improve her attitude, according to the town’s attorney back in 2016.
- Latta Town Council formally fires police Chief Crystal Moore
- Latta town administrator: Handling of sexual harassment complaint led to police chief’s firing
Moore filed a lawsuit on July 8 where she accused the town and Latta Administrator Jarrett Taylor of retaliation.
The court documents show that it started with a sexual harassment report in July 2016 that involved two town employees and was brought to Moore’s attention as the chief of police. The lawsuit states that several attempts were made to notify Taylor that a formal complaint would be made about the sexual harassment allegations.
Taylor failed to conduct an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations, so the victim of the harassment asked Moore to file a formal police report, according to the lawsuit.
“Because the police department had a conflict of interest, Ms. Moore asked the Dillon County Sheriff’s Office to handle the criminal investigation,” the lawsuit states.
After the Dillon County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the sexual harassment report, Taylor reprimanded Moore for not reporting it “to the department head, or the mayor, or the designee.”
Then on Aug. 22, 2016, Moore received three more reprimands, the lawsuit states. The reprimands were for failing to ensure vehicle inspections were completed, allegedly disclosing an officer’s salary during a council meeting and using employee information in an unauthorized manner.
Court documents state that Moore had never received a reprimand in her role as police chief prior to the report being filed on the sexual assault allegations.
After receiving the three reprimands, Moore was placed on a five-day suspension. She returned to work on Aug. 30, 2016, but was terminated on Sept. 8, 2016.
“Ms. Moore, did, however, have valid concerns that her job was in jeopardy as exhibited by the town administrator, Defendant Taylor, issuing her a number of baseless reprimands after she assisted a town employee in filing a formal complaint against another town employee for sexual harassment,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit against Taylor and the town of Latta alleges retaliation in violation of Title VII and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Moore is asking for a jury trial in the case and to be awarded punitive damages “due to the willful misconduct, malice wantonness, and want of care, in an amount to be proven at trial.”
WMBF New has made calls and sent messages into the town of Latta and Taylor to get a comment or statement on the lawsuit. We are waiting to hear back.
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