A local police chief has found himself on the wrong side of the law.
Around 4:30pm Wednesday, deputies with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance at the home of Newton Grove Police Chief Everett Franklin “Frankie” Harrell, located in the 9200 block of Devil’s Racetrack Road south of Four Oaks in the Bentonville community.
Harrell’s wife called 911 reporting a domestic disturbance and that her husband was inside the home with their two children, ages 2 and 11. Authorities said Mrs. Harrell told them she arrived at their home moments earlier and was in her van finishing a cell phone call with her brother. Chief Harrell, 48, who was wearing plain clothes and off duty, came out of their home and asked his wife who she was talking to. He allegedly became agitated and stated “I have guns” and then made a pistol gesture with his hand.
Chief Harrell then allegedly grabbed his wife by the neck causing the phone to fall out of her hand.
She then called 911 reporting the incident.
Shortly after a deputy arrived, the officer heard the trunk open to Chief Harrell’s Newton Grove police cruiser in the driveway. He saw the police chief exit his home and walk towards his patrol car trunk. Chief Harrell retrieved a box of gloves from the trunk at which time he reportedly saw the Johnston County deputy and asked, “What the f**k are you doing?”
The deputy told Chief Harrell he was investigating the domestic incident and assault. Chief Harrell allegedly said, “Big deal, that ain’t no assault.” He then went back inside his home.
The deputy continued to question Harrell’s wife in the driveway. She reportedly played a telephone recording of a conversation she had with her husband last week during which he called her a “God d**n bi*ch” and mocked her screaming.
When the deputy entered the home to talk with Chief Harrell further and asked him to confirm his name he allegedly replied, “I’m the f**king chief.”
Chief Harrell allegedly told officers he grabbed the cell phone from his wife’s hand and that was not assault. He later admitted his fingernail may have scratched her.
Deputies told him there were obvious red marks on her neck. “That’s bullsh*t and you know it,” Chief Harrell reportedly replied. When asked again about the incident he said, “Sh*t I ain’t playing those games.”
While still trying to get the police chief’s side of the story, he said “I’m done talking. I’m lawyered up.”
After being handcuffed, Harrell told the arresting officers, “This is f**king bull sh*t. You’re not looking after me.”
While walking past his wife in the yard to the deputy’s patrol car, Chief Harrell allegedly looked towards his wife and said, “Thanks liar.”
Typically, most suspects in a domestic assault are held without bond until the following day so a judge can set bail and terms of their release. In this case, Chief Harrell told a magistrate he felt unsafe being held in the county jail. He was released on a $1,000 unsecured bond and ordered not to communicate with his wife.
WTSB News reached out to the Town of Newton Grove for a comment on the arrest of their police chief. As of our news deadline we have been unable to get a comment from any town official including Mayor Gerald Darden.
Chief Harrell is still listed as the police chief on the town’s website.
In 2010, Chief Harrell had an unsuccessful write-in campaign for Johnston County Sheriff. At the time of his filing in 2010 he told WTSB, “The Lord has been good to me. It has been a struggle but it has been worth the fight.”
Harrell has been the police chief in Newton Grove since 2004. Prior to joining the department he was a former school resource officer with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office at Smithfield-Selma High and also worked with the Pine Level Police Department. Harrell graduated from South Johnston High School.