Sheriff Fires Detention Officer

SMITHFIELD – Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell terminated a detention officer in the Johnston County Jail following an internal investigation. The former detention officer is now facing criminal charges.

Michael Lowe is accused of using excessive force and assaulting an inmate in custody at the Johnston County Jail on February 13, 2022.

“On February 15, 2022, the SBI was requested by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney to investigate allegations of excessive force involving Michael Lowe, a correctional officer with the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office, and an inmate who was incarcerated at the facility,” said Angie Grube, a spokesperson for the NC SBI.

On August 1, 2022, a Grand Jury indicted Lowe on a misdemeanor count of simple assault. The indictment alleges Lowe assaulted and struck the inmate in the Johnston County Jail. Authorities did not release specific details about the assault including whether the inmate was injured.

Lowe, who had been a detention officer since December 1, 2018, was terminated by Sheriff Bizzell on February 14, 2022 following an internal investigation into the incident. The SBI investigation was requested the following day, February 15.

“As Sheriff of Johnston County, I do not and will not tolerate any type of abuse or mistreatment of inmates in the care and custody of the Johnston County Jail. We strive to treat inmates in a respectful manner, and to do our job professionally on a daily basis,” Sheriff Bizzell said.

The simple assault charge levied against Michael Lowe has not been formally served on him. The SBI agent in charge of the investigation will reportedly serve the indictment on the defendant.


    • Doesn’t matter. You assault someone on the street for ANY reason, you get criminal charges. The same should apply here.

  1. Interesting timeline:
    Feb 13: Assault occurred
    Feb 14: Internal investigation & firing of corrections officer
    Feb 15: Sheriff requests SBI investigation
    Aug 1: Grand jury returns indictment
    Aug 15: SBI has not yet (soon?) formally served the defendant

    The Lee Co sheriff knew they were in the wrong and fired the officer immediately…. but the county waits 6 month to begin legal action… and waits more than 2 weeks to serve an indictment? Smells like good ol’ boys protecting their own, to me.

    • The Lee County sheriff? Also it looks like the grand jury was waiting for the sbi to finish their investigation. Probably took awhile because a misdemeanor simple assault investigation isn’t a high priority for the SBI. You sure do a lot of smelling in your comments.

    • Tell the truth what has the Lee county sheriff got to do with this? The wheels of justice may be slow, but they do turn. You have played the good old boys card in past posts. Are you upset because you can never be one or be treated as one? Or are you just a instagater and enjoying feeding the fire? Or is your world so small you comment without not really knowing what you’re talking about? We are guessing it’s all the above.

    • The only thing that I see wrong was what Lowe did. The JoCo Sheriff’s Dept fired him the very next day after the incident. The day after that called the SBI in to investigate. The rest was out of their hands.

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