The town of Latta, South Carolina, with a population of less than 1,500 and total land area of 1 square mile, is in the center of controversy. Its mayor, Earl Bullard, is under fire for the termination of long time police chief, Crystal Moore. Moore is beloved by the tiny community, however, some believe that she has become a target of the mayor’s homophobic attitude.
Mayor Bullard fired Moore for receiving seven reprimands that primarily stemmed from allegedly questioning authority and failing to maintain order. Moore, however, did not begin receiving these write ups until Bullard took office. Taking office in December 2013, Bullard allegedly broke protocol and procedure by not providing Moore with any verbal or written warnings or counseling.
Dozens of residents were picketing town hall within days of the termination. Others held a prayer vigil for the former police chief. The city council also took action by voting to strip the mayor of certain powers and shifting it to the council.
One city council member produced an audio recording of a phone call in which the mayor goes on a homophobic tirade. He states that he will never allow his children to see two women or men “up there holding hands,’ and he would rather leave his children with a drunk than with someone whose “lifestyle is questionable.”
Moore had served Latta for over 20 years. The Human Rights Campaign drew national attention to the situation by calling for Moore’s reinstatement and calling to expedite the passage of Employment Non-Discrimination Act by Congress.
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits harassment and discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, and gender. FEHA also protects gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and marital status. Therefore, Moore, in California, would be a protected class.
If you feel you have been subject to discriminatory behavior, contact Aegis Law Firm.