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Town commissioner accused of beating tenant's boyfriend

Posted June 30, 2008

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— A police officer arrested a commissioner for a small Johnston County town when the official fought with a tenant's boyfriend in front of him.

Police were called out Thursday, June 26, to keep the peace at a home at 516 Fire Department Road, which was owned by Town Commissioner Clifton Cooley, 62. The officer said he saw Cooley run inside the house.

"He entered the residence without permission, and when he was asked to leave, he refused," Police Chief Steve Little said.

Cooley started arguing with the tenant's boyfriend, Edward Goodman, and the confrontation quickly turned physical, according to investigators.

"He (Cooley) pushes Mr. Goodman off the porch," Little said. "As he falls off the porch, Mr. Cooley jumps off the porch and hits him in the head and in the chest."

The officer arrested Cooley and charged him misdemeanor simple assault and breaking-and-entering.

Cooley told investigators that he was frustrated, because his tenant had refused to move out as promised, and new renter was ready to move into the house.

Little said Cooley was very cooperative once he was in custody, and he was released on a written promise to go to court.

"It's an unfortunate situation for everyone involved," Little said.

Other town commissioners have not yet met to discuss the case against Cooley, who has been on the council since 2005. Wilson's Mills' mayor has been out of town.

The council's next meeting has been scheduled for July 14.

Cooley served a year in jail on a conviction for felony breaking-and-entering between 1975 and 1976.

He did not return WRAL News' calls for comment.


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  • Mrs Fabulous 1 Jul 1, 2008

    I actually know this man and this is totally out of character for Deacon Cooley. And my goodness, look at that house! LOL @ the comment posted "Nice House". LMBO!!

  • TheAdmiral Jul 1, 2008

    If the commissioner refuses to resign, I can only say this - he's a democrat.

  • lilwil Jul 1, 2008

    Something is being left out in this story. Sure, I understand his fustration...but he should have taken the proper legal steps and let the Sheriff escorted those rebellious tenants out.

  • djofraleigh Jun 30, 2008

    This guy is pretty feisty for a guy of 62 when it comes to his getting rent money, and in front of a cop, at that.

    Why would any town elect a man who has served time for B&E?

    Is that really the best they have to pick from?
    Or is that the mentality of the population?

    They asked for it, they got in in Wilsons Mill,
    and they have some mighty bad press for a small town.
    Of course, Cooley isn't locking his tenants in cages like in Durham. But Durham's rep is too bad to hurt.

  • JesseHelmsRules Jun 30, 2008

    Nice House!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • bomanicous Jun 30, 2008

    'im willing to wager that he doesnt face any penalty from the judicial system'

    if it turns out that the tenants haven't paid rent in months and have refused to leave while someone else is waiting for them to get out so they can have a place to live like the story suggests then I hope he doesn't get penalized, maybe a little anger management.

  • alx Jun 30, 2008

    im willing to wager that he doesnt face any penalty from the judicial system

  • meh2 Jun 30, 2008

    Democrat or Republican? I will give you one guess.

  • raldude Jun 30, 2008

    I am sooooo lucky. I rented a property to a family that I didn't know. They called me about the property and we setteled over the phone. No contract just a honest handshake to pay the rent and take care of the place after we met. To this day, I condider myself fortunate to have met this fine family. I gave them a chance and it really paid off.

  • bomanicous Jun 30, 2008

    It sounds like he got pushed too far. If he has someone ready to move in and the 'squatters' aren't leaving I think it's understandable (maybe not legal). I also feel if he already evicted the tenants then he should be allowed to enter the house whenever he wants, it's not their home anymore, it's his. But they are probably protected by some stupid law that doesn't help anybody.