Crystal Moore was easily the happiest person in Latta, South Carolina on Tuesday night.
Residents in the town of 1,400 people had just overwhelmingly voted to reinstate her as their police chief and to strip the mayor, Earl Bullard, of some of his powers. Bullard fired Moore from her post in April for reasons that many residents believe had to do with her being a lesbian. Tuesday's vote, which came in direct response to Moore's firing, changed the governing structure of the town from “mayor-strong” to “council-strong," which meant the town council could and would put Moore back in her job as soon as possible.
But that all changed on Wednesday, when Bullard unexpectedly announced that he had just hired someone else for the post. WPDE NewsChannel 15 reported that Bullard hired someone named Freddie Davis on Monday, in what appears to be a final show of power by the mayor before he loses it at the end of the week to the council. Bullard's carefully timed move falls just outside a 60-day waiting period the council imposed in April to specify when another police chief could be hired.
. . . Latta council member Jarett Taylor said Wednesday night that it appears Bullard broke local laws by writing up a contract unilaterally with Davis."He needed council approval to do that," Taylor said in an interview on MSNBC's "The Last Word."
"We're going to test his ability to put the new chief under contract. The council supports Crystal 100 percent," Taylor said. "I've spoken to all six council members and we're still behind Crystal."
Moore was appointed police chief before being fired by Bullard. The speculation was that Bullard fired her because she was lesbian. Bullard denied this, but a taped conversation in which he made rude comments regarding the lgbt community and children contradicted his claim. Since that time, Bullard and the Latta town council have been feuding over his actions. With this latest move, the feud doesn't look like it will be over any time soon.