Local News

Town commissioner accused of beating tenant's boyfriend

Posted June 30, 2008 5:50 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2008 6:50 p.m. EDT

— 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.