A charge of domestic assault was dismissed Friday morning against Bobby Stone in a case involving a top advisor to Mayor Andy Berke.
Afterward, Mr. Stone told reporters that the mayor had an inappropriate relationship with his wife, Lacie Stone.
He also charged that Mayor Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher conspired to arrest him.
Mr. Stone is expected to file a lawsuit against those he named.
Lacie Stone afterward released a statement that said, "The last six months of my life have been extremely difficult. Anytime you have difficulties in your marriage you want to keep it private. In the unfortunate event that those problems escalate to physical violence, as it did to me on May 20, the last thing you want to do is talk to members of the media about it.
"My husband continues to make untrue allegations about me, my colleagues, and what happened that night. Those allegations are completely false. I just want to bring this unfortunate event to a close, move on with my life, and ask everyone to respect my privacy going forward."
Chief Fred Fletcher said, "I need to clarify an important point relevant to recent information. As soon as I learned of this incident I contacted on-duty police command and placed them completely in charge. Commanders make difficult decisions every day. I entrusted all decisions to be made independently by investigators with no direction from me. No one from the mayor's office had any contact with any police officers, other than me, and had no influence on the decisions that were made on how to address this case.
"Our department will not be making further statements on the matter at this time."
Lt. Jerome Halbert, the commander of the Chattanooga Police Department's Special Victim's Unit and Property Crimes Division, said, "I was the commander of this investigation. My team and I received no influence from Chief Fred Fletcher or the mayor's office and had no contact at all with the mayor's office. We investigated consistent with my many years of experience working domestic violence cases. My officers handled this incident in good faith performance of their duties to our community."
District Attorney Neal Pinkston told General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom that Mr. Stone was not read his Miranda rights and the arrest was based on his statement.
He also cited the involvement in the arrest by the mayor's office with Chief of Staff Stacy Richardson going to the aid of Ms. Stone and Ms. Stone going to the home of Police Chief Fletcher.
DA Pinkston said after the incident that Ms. Stone wanted to drop the charge, saying she did not want any adverse publicity. He said each of her statements "contain minor and major inconsistencies." He said she "told officers on two occasions that no assault had occurred and she was concerned about her job, the publicity this event may garner and allegations of extramarital affairs."
DA Pinkston said Ms. Stone called Chief Fletcher and said her husband was threatening to kill her and had assaulted her. He said Bobby Stone then called the chief and said he had not hit her.
In an incident at the Stone residence on Ozark Circle on May 21, police said Bobby Stone tried to take his wife's cell phone from her and a struggle ensued. She hit him several times with the phone and he dragged her out of the house. He threw a rock through her vehicle as she drove off.
Mayor Berke issued this statement shortly after the incident, "Last weekend a member of my senior staff was the victim of a domestic assault involving her husband. Upon being arrested and charged, her husband made numerous false allegations about me and other people involved in city government.
"It is unfortunate that this situation escalated to the point of a domestic assault.
"Let me be clear: the allegations are absolutely false. As an administration we have been working hard to combat issues related to family violence and this is a reminder of why it is so important. Out of respect for the ongoing investigation, and the privacy of those involved, I won’t be commenting further."
Police Chief Fletcher said after the incident, "Last Friday night I had dinner at the home of Mr. and Ms. Stone with my wife, Assistant Chief David Roddy, his wife, and two friends of Mrs. & Mr. Stone. When I left their home, there was no indication that anything was wrong. About an hour after I left the home, I received a panicked phone call from Mrs. Stone stating Mr. Stone had hurt her. I instructed Mrs. Stone to come to my home where I knew she would be safe. Mr. Stone also called me and reported that a physical altercation had occurred with Ms. Stone. I called communications to identify the watch commander who I directed to have officers respond to my home to investigate the incident. I made it clear that this incident will be investigated the same as any other crime.
"I know there have been untrue allegations made about my relationship with Ms. Stone and they are unequivocally false. Mr. and Mrs. Stone are my friends and I was saddened to hear about this incident. I am glad she called me and was able to leave what she considered to be a dangerous situation. I hope people will respect her privacy. Out of respect for the investigation, I won’t be commenting any further."
District Attorney Pinkston later asked for an investigation by the TBI of facts surrounding the incident, including any involvement in the arrest of Bobby Stone by the mayor's office or the police chief.
Bobby Stone Memorandum:
IN THE GENERAL SESSIONS COURT
OF HAMILTON COUNTY TENNESSEE
STATE OF TENNESSEE )
v. ) NO: 1629662-63
ROBERT STONE )
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DISMISS
Comes now the State of Tennessee, by and through the District Attorney
General’s Office, and would submit this Memorandum in Support of the Motion to
Dismiss. The State of Tennessee would more specifically show the investigations
concluded as follows:
1. That the alleged victim, Lacie Stone, contacted Chattanooga Police Chief
Fred Fletcher via telephone and stated her husband, Robert Stone, had tried to
choke her, assaulted her, tried to kill her and broke out a window in an
automobile. After this phone call, Lacie Stone proceeded to the residence of
Fred Fletcher. The events occurred during the late night hours of May 20, 2016 and
early morning hours of May 21, 2016.
2. That Robert Stone also contacted Chief Fred Fletcher by telephone and text
message and stated “I am sure she’s telling you how I beat her up. That’s not true
we did wrestle over the phone but I never hit her.”
3. That Chief Fletcher reported the incident to the Chattanooga Police
Department. Chattanooga Police Officers arrived at Fletcher’s residence to
investigate the incident. Lacie Stone stated to these officers on two occasions that
no assault had occurred and she was concerned about her job, the publicity this
event may garner and allegations of extramarital affairs. She also gave a written
statement to the officers where she denied being assaulted.
4. At some point in time, Stacy Richardson had been contacted and traveled to
Fletcher’s residence. Richardson arrived during the initial stage of the investigation,
Stacy Richardson stated to law enforcement agents that Lacie Stone wanted “all this
to go away.”
5. After the original officers had conducted interviews, that individual(s) from
the City Mayor’s office and Chattanooga Police Department decided the Special
Victims Unit should handle the investigation.
6. A detective whose has been with the Chattanooga Police Department’s
Special Victims Unit for one year was assigned to investigate this matter. She
traveled to Chief Fletcher’s residence during the early morning hours of May 21,
2016. Upon this detective’s arrival, Lacie Stone was not present but had left
Fletcher’s house with Stacy Richardson. The Special Victims unit detective contacted
Lacie Stone but she declined to speak any further with law enforcement at this time.
7. The original responding officers traveled to the residence of Robert Stone
and gathered facts about the investigation. Stone was then transported via
police patrol vehicle to the Chattanooga Police Services Center for an
interview to be conducted by the Special Victims Unit detective. Before leaving for
the police department, Robert Stone gave a written statement regarding the
incident and again denied hitting Lacie.
8. That the Special Victims Unit detective conducted an audio interview
with Robert Stone but failed to notify Stone of his constitutional rights to
remain silent. Based upon his statement alone, the detective swore out
warrants for domestic assault and vandalism for Robert Stone. It was noted
by law enforcement officers that Lacie Stone’s inconsistent statements alone
did not provide enough cause for an arrest warrant.
9. That the Special Victims Unit detective, in a sworn affidavit , averred
that “Lacie Stone called a friend who worked at the police department stating
her husband was going to kill her.” For unknown reasons, the person at the
police department was not identified. This is a hearsay statement which isn’t
10. That several days after the incident, Lacie Stone was interviewed by the
Special Victims Unit detective. She was also interviewed by the Tennessee
Bureau of Investigation. Each of her statements contain minor and major
11. That within days of the incident, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke issued a
statement that read in part, “Last weekend a member of my senior staff was the
victim of a domestic assault involving her husband.” Subsequent public statements
were also made by Chief Fletcher and Lacie Stone. These statements occurred
before Robert Stone made his first appearance in court and prompted his counsel to
release a statement requesting Mayor Berke and Chief Fletcher to refrain from
making any further public comments.
12. Cases have to be evaluated by the evidence as applied to Tennessee law and
not upon public comments.
13. Based upon all the foregoing reasons, the State of Tennessee declines to
prosecute the case and dismisses the matter so it will no longer burden the judicial
Respectfully submitted the _________ day of October, 2016.
District Attorney General
600 Market Street, Suite 310
Chattanooga, TN 37402