Five firefighters have been placed on administrative leave during an investigation into allegations of inappropriate female visits and lewd conduct at a Nashville fire hall.
Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron said the investigation began Saturday when officers responded to Metro General Hospital in regard to a 23-year-old woman who believed she may have been drugged while visiting the Antioch home of Nashville firefighter Jason Copeland.
During an interview Tuesday, Copeland, 32, told police he was being extorted by a friend of the woman.
Copeland told police Ray Dontrell Johnson, 26, an alleged gang member, told him there "would be blood" if Copeland didn't leave $500 at the Pizza Hut on Clarksville Pike.
Metro gang unit detectives set up a sting in which $500 was placed in a vehicle outside the restaurant.
Johnson and a friend, Cortez Deonte Smith, 20, were arrested when they went to retrieve the money Tuesday night.
Both were charged with extortion and booked into the Metro jail.
During the investigation, information was revealed that alleged three firefighters were involved in the activity at the fire hall; however acting Metro Fire Chief Billy Lynch placed the entire crew of five men on leave.
"I am greatly disturbed and concerned by the information we have received from the police department," said Acting Metro Fire Chief Billy Lynch. "I have ordered a full and immediate administrative investigation and, if these allegations are true, immediate disciplinary action will be taken. There will be absolutely no tolerance in the fire department for such alleged conduct."
Two of the men, including Copeland, were interviewed and both declined to answer questions regarding matters at the fire hall.
The other firefighters are expected to be interviewed to determine their knowledge, involvement or participation in regard to the alleged inappropriate fire hall activity.
In addition to Copeland, Kerry Sales, Darrin Bell, Quincy Corbitt and Captain James Overton were also placed on leave.
"You expect people to have some dignity and respect for their position and understand who they work for. They work for the taxpayers of this community and they should act like adults," Lynch said.
No firefighters have been charged. The investigation is ongoing.
Monday, May 20 2013 5:45 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:45:17 GMT
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