Embattled Newton Grove Police Chief Resigns

Chief Frankie Harrell submits resignation by text message

After 14 years as police chief in Newton Grove, Everett Franklin “Frankie” Harrell resigned from his position late this afternoon (Monday).

Chief Harrell resigned minutes before a special called meeting of the Newton Grove Town Council was set to begin at 6:00pm.

Chief Harrell sent a text message to Town Attorney Lew Starling saying he resigned effective immediately.

Last Wednesday, Harrell was arrested while off duty at his southern Johnston County home for domestic assault involving his wife.

Starling said he had been in communication with Chief Harrell by telephone Monday afternoon. Chief Harrell made it clear his resignation was not an admission of guilt in his pending legal case but felt it was best to resign and move along, Starling told WTSB News after the meeting. He indicated he very much wanted to clear his name, Starling added, speaking on behalf of Newton Grove Mayor Gerald Darden.

An interim police chief was not named at the meeting Monday night but the current command staff of the Newton Grove Police Department will remain in place, minus Chief Harrell.

Harrell, 48, was arrested Nov. 28th at his home in the 9200 block of Devil’s Racetrack Road, Four Oaks by Johnston County deputies after his wife called to report a domestic dispute.

She allegedly told deputies she had pulled in the driveway of the home around 4:30pm and was finishing a cell phone call with her brother, when Mr. Harrell came out of the residence, asked her who she was talking with, then allegedly stated “I have guns” then made a pistol gesture with his hand. He then reportedly grabbed her by the neck causing her to drop the phone. She then dialed 911.

Harrell was released on a $1,000 unsecured bond after he reportedly told a magistrate he would be afraid for his safety if he were confined in the Johnston County Jail.

Mr. Harrell ran unsuccessfully for Johnston County Sheriff in 2010.