The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation Thursday into a domestic violence incident involving one of Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke’s senior advisers, reports the Times-Free Press.
Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston asked the TBI to look into the case, which involves allegations that Mayor Andy Berke had a sexual relationship with his adviser, Lacie Stone, and that the relationship prompted Stone’s husband, Bobby Stone, to attack her Friday night.
Bobby Stone was arrested and charged with domestic assault and vandalism early Saturday morning, after Lacie Stone called police Chief Fred Fletcher for help and said her husband was going to kill her, Fletcher said Wednesday. She then went to Fletcher’s house to wait for police.
Berke has adamantly denied allegations of a sexual relationship with Lacie Stone, and Fletcher said the domestic violence case was treated like any other. But Pinkston’s spokeswoman, Melydia Clewell, said Wednesday that Pinkston’s office wanted the TBI to look into how police handled the case, and that Berke and Fletcher’s comments raised “unusual concerns” for prosecutors.
A spokesman for the TBI declined to release any details about the scope of the investigation on Thursday.
“The investigation is active and ongoing and we have no additional detail to offer at this time,” spokesman Josh DeVine said in a statement.
Fletcher said he welcomes the TBI’s investigation.
“We welcome the support and assistance of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation,” he said. “I have called on them many, many times, whether it is helping to investigate my own officers or on a case that needs extra assistance.”
…Berke said Thursday he will cooperate with the TBI. Despite reports he had cancelled all of his public appearances this week, he attended at least two public events Thursday — a meeting of the Mayor’s Council for Women and an annual awards ceremony for the police department. After the awards ceremony, he declined to answer several questions about the investigation and allegations, but did speak to reporters.
“I’ll let the proceedings go forth,” he said, and added later, “I’m not going to comment on the investigation. I’ve been asked not to comment on it.”