TBI investigating city police again

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Lewisburg restaurant waitress has alleged "stalking and harassment" by a city police officer, according to a report filed by a Marshall County Sheriff's deputy who was asked what she could do about the situation as he was ordering coffee before dawn on Sunday.

Lewisburg Police Cpl. Anthony McClain has been placed on administrative leave as a result of the allegations, according to City Manager Eddie Fuller. He said Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard was given the facts of the case and asked to request a state investigation.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation recently finished an inconclusive investigation into allegations that a city police sergeant told or asked a patrol officer to take a teenager home before he was booked into the county jail on a charge of underage drinking in a city park.

District Attorney Chuck Crawford said Thursday he cannot confirm nor deny the existence of a possible investigation. However, he added, "The existence of any investigation does not mean that anybody is guilty of anything. That's why we have investigations and there's nothing for me to say unless there's a finding of wrong-doing."

Huddle House waitress Chrissy Morton, 24, of Lewisburg approached Deputy Layne Worsham at 4:25 Sunday morning, according to Worsham's report.

That public record does not provide details of the allegation, but Fuller described some of the exchange between the officer and the waitress.

"She alleged he went to her house and knocked on her door asking for a date," Fuller said. McClain reportedly "said something to the effect of 'Why don't we get married?'"

Asked when the policeman asked the waitress those questions, Fuller replied, "She said it started a year ago. She complained to an officer on another shift who said she had to talk to acting Police Chief David Ray," the city manager said.

Ray is a long-time police captain who is acting as interim chief since Doug Alexander left the chief's office amid other controversy to resume duties as a school resource officer.

Ray and Fuller found out about the circumstances between Morton and McClain because Worsham wrote an incident report, Fuller said.

McClain, 44, has been a Lewisburg policeman for nine years. He has been placed on administrative leave with pay until the case is resolved.

"This is still America," Fuller said. "You're still innocent until proven guilty."

The Tribune was unable to reach Morton for comment on Thursday.

After Fuller and Ray "asked a few questions" at City Hall and police headquarters, the city manager explained, "We thought it was inappropriate for us to investigate our own police department, so David [Ray, the interim chief] went to Eddie Barnard [one of Crawford's assistant prosecutors] and asked that the TBI investigate."

Worsham filled out a report form with boxes marked to indicate "unknown ... motive for offense," and that no weapon was involved. The city police officer who Morton reportedly approached first was Cpl. Chris Sawyers, according to the public record. It shows that Morton spoke with Sawyers on Nov. 5, a Monday.

"Sawyers said that he talked with ... McClain about this problem [and] Sawyers told Morton that the problem should be taken care of," according to the report by Worsham. "I asked if McClain had done anything since Monday.

"She said that Friday night [Nov. 9] McClain came into the Huddle House demanding that Chrissy be his waitress. Chrissy refused and McClain got very upset and rude to the waitress that he had," Worsham wrote.

"Morton felt that her complaint wasn't getting the attention that she wanted and asked if she could make a complaint with us," according to Worsham's report. Worsham also says he advised Morton that she would be contacted for more details.

The report states that Morton isn't living in her own home as a result of the situation.