FPD officer charged with strangulation, sexual battery

Published 4:14 pm Wednesday, June 17, 2020

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A Franklin police officer has been arrested on charges of felony strangulation and misdemeanor sexual battery.

Michael Greenwell Jr.

Maj. Camden Cobb, spokesman for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office, said the victim of these alleged crimes contacted the Sheriff’s Office on Sunday, after which investigators immediately began a criminal investigation, which culminated in the arrest of FPD Officer Michael Greenwell Jr., 39.

While Cobb did not specify exactly what Greenwell is accused of having done, he stated that the alleged incident occurred on Friday while Greenwell was off duty in Southampton County.

Southampton County Commonwealth Attorney Eric Cooke has recused his office from the prosecution of this case and will have Chesapeake’s Commonwealth Attorney Nancy Parr appointed in his place as a special prosecutor. The Sheriffs Office has also already contacted FPD Chief Steve Patterson to inform him of the charges against his officer.

The FPD has since begun its own internal investigation into the complaint and has placed Greenwell on administrative leave without pay. Greenwell is being held without bond at a facility outside Southampton and Franklin.

“Sheriff [Josh] Wyche and Chief Patterson believe that as law enforcement officers we have to hold ourselves and others accountable for the illegal acts they commit, even our own,” Cobb said. “This is an example of two agencies working together to ensure the integrity of their organizations and working together to address illegal conduct by law enforcement officers.”

“The Franklin Police Department will not tolerate illegal acts to be committed by its employees,” Patterson said. “When these incidents occur, the department will investigate them to the fullest and if true, discipline will be administered. The trust placed in us by our community is too important to jeopardize.”