UPDATE: Mayor issues directive protecting memorial sites
Mayor Andy Berke tells Channel 3, he's disgusted at the idea of people coming in and protesting Chattanooga's fallen heroes and on Thursday, he stepped in an issued a directive so people at a memorial service can mourn in peace.
That directive protects the memorial sites on Lee Highway and Amnicola Highway.
There are already state and federal laws that protect funeral and burial services of fallen servicemen.
But a young woman spoke before city council earlier this week, she pointed out that the memorial sites are not protected under those laws.
This directive does two things, it makes sure police officers are enforcing the law to keep protesters away and it turns the Lee highway site into a memorial service.
Mayor Berke says he wanted to make sure all bases were covered to keep protesters away.
"We're out there to make sure they are honored in the best possible way. A lot of times that includes prayers and a memorial service and we're disgusted by anyone who would come in and use their death to advance their own political premises," said Andy Berke, Chattanooga Mayor.
The mayor tells Channel 3, this directive will take effect immediately and will remain in place for as long as the community needs it.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has issued a directive, No. 2015-01, that protects the two memorial sites at 6219 Lee Highway and 40521 Amnicola Highway as protected memorial sites.
The directive is to defend mourners at both sites, which have become popular as Chattanoogans and people from all over the U.S. come to pay their respects to the fallen servicemen.
Berke cites the Tennessee Code Section 39-17-317 that prohibits person(s) from interfering with a funeral or related memorial services for a deceased person.
READ MORE | Mayor Andy Berke's Directive
The law also goes further, protests within 500 feet are deemed “offensive” to an ordinary person.
Federal law prohibits certain demonstrations on any cemetery under the control of the National Cemetery Association, which includes the Chattanooga National Military Cemetery.
Protests within 500 feet of the entrance or within 300 feet of a road, pathway or funeral procession are included.
The directive will take effect immediately, and remain in place until it is rescinded, according to the news release.