NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – There’s trouble Wednesday night for the Nashville Fire Department after a veteran officer was arrested and charged with attempted rape.
According to officials, Burnice Gipson has been with the department for 15 years, most recently as a firefighter EMT at Station No. 7 in West Meade.
News 2 learned that on Monday night he was arrested by Cheatham County deputies for domestic assault and attempted rape.
The president of the Nashville firefighter union, IAFF Local 140, represents Gipson and knows him personally.
“I call him Bernie. He’s a great guy. I have known him since the day he came on the job. I have worked with him. He’s a good fireman. It’s surprising to me. It’s not in his character at all,” said Mark Young.
According to an arrest affidavit, Gipson and his ex-wife were arguing at her home over emails she had found.
She reported to authorities she went to the bedroom to get away from him when he came inside.
The affidavit states the woman says she recorded the incident, and investigators later noted you could hear Gipson slap her.
According to the arrest document, Gipson had her face down in the bed and was pulling her pants down before he reportedly made a comment saying he was going to have sex with her. The audio recording allegedly captures the woman crying and screaming for him to stop.
Authorities say that’s when Gipson learned she was recording and attempted to take the phone. The couple’s two children, ages 16 and 13, then came into the room, leading the firefighter to leave.
Deputies arrived at the house after the victim’s mother called 911.
Gipson has since been placed on administrative leave.
The Nashville Fire Department issued the following statement: “We are aware of his arrest and he will be put on administrative leave, pending our own investigation into this matter. While we do not currently know the full circumstances surrounding this arrest, rest assured that this department will take swift and appropriate action once all of the facts have been gathered.”
“This is a bruise on the department when stuff like this comes out, but this is not the image of this department because we have some very good men and women in this department protecting this city,” said union president Young.
According to the arrest affidavit, Gipson told officers none of the accusations took place other than an argument over the emails, which allegedly contained information about Gipson buying and selling pain pills.
His bond was set at $45,000 and he is ordered not to have contact with the victim.