Press Release: Homicide In Hillsdale Rocky Mount NC Friday May 15, 2020

On May 15, 2020 at approximately 10:42 p.m., officers with the Rocky Mount Police Department responded to a report of an aggravated assault in the 1500 block of Charter Dr. When officers arrived, they learned that two people were injured during the assault. One victim, a 20-year-old male, succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The second victim, a 51-year-old male, was transported to UNC Nash Hospital for treatment. The names of the victims are being withheld pending notification of family members. The Rocky Mount Police Department is currently investigating leads in the case.

A homicide also occurred on May 13 on the 200 block of Union Street that resulted in the death of a 28-year-old male and the injury of a 27-year-old female.

“The Rocky Mount Police Department is always concerned about any acts of violence that occur in our city and investigates such incidents without delay,” Police Chief George Robinson said. ”These recent homicides were not random. The victims in these investigations were either targeted or has familiarity with the suspects. We have made significant progress in these investigations and hope to bring some closure to their loved ones. We believe these investigations have witnesses who have pertinent information and we encourage them to come forth. We ask that anyone with information these investigations to contact us at (252) 972-1411, Twin County Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111 or Text – A-Tip (Text RMPOL) and your message to CRIMES (274637). Your text is completely anonymous.”

For media inquiries, contact Cpl. Clay Wilder at 252-343-3107.

Residential Structure Fire – 801 Hammond Street

Rocky Mount NC – Residential Structure Fire – 801 Hammond Street

Rocky Mount, N.C. – On Saturday, February 1, 2020, at approximately 5:02 a.m. City of Rocky Mount Fire Department (RMFD) units were dispatched to a residential structure fire located at 801 Hammond Street. Units arrived on scene within three minutes of being dispatched to find a two-story, residential structure with approximately 50% of the residence involved with fire.  Two occupants on scene advised there was another occupant trapped inside on the second floor.  Firefighters used ladders to enter the structure through a second story window to search for the occupant.  The occupant was located, extricated through the second story window, and revived on scene by first responders.  The occupant was then transported to UNC Nash Health Care.

Firefighters conducted a secondary search to ensure no one else was trapped inside.  Twenty-five (25) Rocky Mount firefighters responded to the incident and were able to extinguish the fire and have the event under control within approximately 45 minutes of the first arriving units. City of Rocky Mount Public Utilities (CRMPU) troubleshooters responded and disconnected utilities to the structure.  City of Rocky Mount Police Department (RMPD) responded and assisted with traffic control at the scene.  Nash County Emergency Services (EMS) responded to offer patient care and assist with firefighter rehab on scene.  The American Red Cross was contacted to offer assistance to the occupants.

The residence sustained major fire and smoke damage throughout.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation at the time of this release. 

• One occupant sustained burn injuries and was revived on scene and later transported to UNC Nash Health Care by Nash County EMS.
• There were no firefighter injuries.
• CRMPU and RMPD assisted with the incident.
• The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Note: I know who the family is but I dare not release information until it is made public.

Press Release: Dunn named Interim Parks and Recreation Director

imageDunn named Interim Parks and Recreation Director

Rocky Mount, N.C. – City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney has appointed Joel Dunn as Interim Parks and Recreation Director effective immediately.

He will fill the role previously held by Assistant City Manager Elton Daniels.

Dunn has spent his entire 14-year, public service career within Parks and Recreation. He has been a member of the city of Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department since 2009, when he was hired as Rocky Mount Sports Complex Supervisor.

Dunn has served as the department’s Recreation Superintendent since 2013, where his duties have included managing the activities of athletics, recreation services, outdoor programs, special events, administration and the Rocky Mount Sports Complex. The role requires the supervision of 23 full-time staff, more than 200 part-time staff, three community centers and the Rocky Mount Sports Complex.

“Joel has consistently proven himself as a valuable asset of our Parks and Recreation Department for the past 11 years,” City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney said. “I have the utmost confidence that his knowledge, decision-making and passion are what the department needs at this moment.”

Dunn is currently the Interim Imperial Centre Superintendent, where he has served since December 2017.

“I am honored and excited about the opportunity with the city of Rocky Mount,” Dunn said. “I look forward to continuing to work with everyone as I enter this new position.”

About Rocky Mount

The city of Rocky Mount, located in the Coastal Plains of North Carolina, was incorporated in 1867 and lies in Edgecombe and Nash Counties. Rocky Mount is a two-time All-America City on the Tar River. Serving as the Gateway to Eastern North Carolina, the city’s 875 employees serve approximately 58,000 residents daily.

The city’s mission is to advance community well-being, safety and quality of life by delivering excellent public services and actively collaborating with the community toward a fulfilling and inspired future for its citizens. As a publicly owned utility, the city of Rocky Mount is committed to safe, reliable service for its customers and operates in Nash and Edgecombe counties, providing customers with electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater (sewer), refuse, recycling and/or stormwater services.  To learn more, visit for news and updates.

Press Release: Vila R. Anderson To File For Register of Deeds and To Seek The Appointment of Unexpired Term of Robin W. Braswell Retired Effective Today

Press Release:

To all Edgecombe County citizens, please join me today Monday, December 2, 2019 at 12 noon at the Edgecombe County Board of Elections Office, 201 St. Andrew Street Tarboro, NC as I will be filing for the Office of Register of Deeds in the upcoming 2020 election.

I have been with the Edgecombe County Register of Deeds office almost 13 years and after the retirement of the Honorable Robin W. Braswell effective today, I am seeking the appointment to fill her unexpired term.

The Edgecombe County Democratic Party Executive Committee will convene on December 17, 2019 at 6 PM at the McIntyre Auditorium on the Tarboro Campus of Edgecombe Community College to appoint a Democratic candidate to fill the unexpired term which ends December 2020.

For more information, please contact
The Committee to Appoint & To Elect Vila R. Anderson,
Edgecombe County Register of Deeds
(252) 343-5726

Rocky Mount NC – Press Release: GOTV Rallies Heat Up Rocky Mount Elections

GOTV Rallies Heat Up Rocky Mount Elections

Rocky Mount, NC – Several African American leaders in Rocky Mount are standing together to shed light on local elections and expose plans to divide votes within communities of color. “Black communities in Rocky Mount are being bathed in money generated by the Republican Party locally, statewide and nationally to turn the tide of progress in our City,” stated Andre’ Knight, City Council Representative and Candidate for Re-election of Ward One. Knight, a well-known community activist, commented that “several candidates, running under the banner of Sandy Roberson, millionaire and a member of the Nash County Republican Party Executive Committee, have adopted a theme of unity, but their policies and solutions reflect anything but togetherness. For almost an entire year, Roberson supporters have flooded City Council meetings, social media and Rocky Mount Telegram letters and articles with talk of unity and love. They have opposed affordable housing initiatives in downtown Rocky Mount, opposed the construction of the Rocky Mount Event Center on the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount, halted the progress of a world class hotel and parking complex on the site of the Event Center by working with the State Auditor and State Treasurer, supported the dismantling of the Nash Rocky Mount School district into a county line district and attacked the appointment and leadership of hiring leaders of color in City management positions and their policies.”

Knight, joined by Rocky Mount City Council members Richard Joyner and Lois Watkins, will launch Get Out the Vote Now Rallies on Monday, September 30th from 3 pm to 5 pm at Shaq’s Parking Lot on Grand Avenue and Saturday, October 4th from 1 pm to 4 pm at Boone Street Park. Information will be shared which will shed light on what this election is about and what stakes are at risk. These Council members will be joined by area pastors and community leaders to speak to attendees about why elections are not for sale.

Lois Watkins, retiring City Council Representative for Ward 4, commented that “I am very concerned about what is happening in our City. Efforts that our City Council and City Manager have led and implemented that support and promote equity, inclusion and shared prosperity are being labeled as racist, divisive and self-promoting. For 16 years, this City Council has turned the tides of disinvestment and loss in Rocky Mount into an emerging City with opportunity for success occurring for everyone. We have done a lot and yet a lot still has to be done. That’s why we must keep this Council intact. We have beautiful and safe workforce housing today in neighborhoods that were branded as “bad,’ ‘hopeless’ and ‘dirty’. Why would anyone want to oppose our growth and development?”

Rev. Richard Joyner, City Council Representative for Ward 3, pastor and nationally celebrated CNN Hero, was appointed last year to fill an unexpired term. He added that “we build strong communities that unite our City by telling the truth about equity, access, inclusion and the historical understanding that explains why we are where we are today. We’ve got to talk about how we move forward. In this election, people of privilege are spreading money to our residents for votes to derail long-term efforts that strengthen our resilient neighborhoods. We need to support workforce housing, current economic development and continue to partner with people and organizations that have worked tirelessly to build sustainable wealth in communities and for community residents that everyone can be proud of. Our neighborhood residents have worked hard to get to where we are now and this invasion must stop.”

Reuben Blackwell, City Council Representative of Ward Two, non-profit executive and civil rights activist, added “although I won’t be here for the rallies, I completely support and endorse my fellow Council members. Rocky Mount has led change from the bottom up. Our City Council and our City team has worked with and listened to the working poor and those community members whose neighborhoods have been rife with crime and neglect. We have cleaned up blocks, funded new housing and rehab efforts, helped lower utility rates, created dynamic momentum downtown and partnered with economic development agencies to recruit and fund efforts to build industry and bring jobs into our region. We cannot afford to back up on progress. We still have alarmingly high health disparities. Our children are still trying to learn in old school buildings in Rocky Mount that the Nash County Republican leadership have intentionally not funded at appropriate levels because the schools are in Edgecombe County. But our community is beginning to wake up and our people are beginning to understand that they can create a better future for themselves and their children if they stand up to the influence of big money. And that is also why we are calling for masses of people to join us in forming an organization and movement to come together around equitable and just development principles, programs and projects.”

He added that “United Rocky Mount is a newly forming organization comprised of individuals who live in Rocky Mount and are united around fair and affordable workforce housing, equitable business development, strong and high performing schools, youth and senior programming, downtown redevelopment and sustainable economics. Join us as we work to continue to change our future and create a history that we can all be proud of.” The Get Out the Vote Now Rallies will begin at 3 pm at Shaq’s located on Grand Avenue on Monday, September 30th and at 1 pm at the Boone Street Park. The media and the public are invited to attend.

Press Release: Challenges and strategies for success presented at council retreat

Rocky Mount, N.C.-The Rocky Mount City Council started the first day of their annual retreat with a three-hour presentation from Dr. Jim Johnson, professor and director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC Chapel Hill. Johnson’s topic was “A roadmap for inclusive and equitable development in Rocky Mount.”

According to Johnson, this roadmap cannot be developed without first looking at the demographic reality of Rocky Mount and the Twin Counties region. Research shows that between 2010 and 2017, the area was losing population. Rocky Mount lost 29 percent of its white population, gained in the African-American population by 11.8 percent and experienced growth in the Hispanic population. Similar trends are noted in Nash and Edgecombe counties as the areas experience a “Browning of America.” 

“You’re losing everybody but the 65-plus population,” noted Johnson. “In Rocky Mount, your 4564 population is growing, but it is a booming population, and the next wave is 65+.”

Johnson also indicated the significant percentage of the working poor population in the region, reasons why strategies should be devised for both the working poor and for those doing well. 

“How do you embrace and recruit new talent and at the same time be inclusive of the existing population that is there?’ asked Johnson. 

One way is to develop key drivers for inclusive and equitable development, as well as shared prosperity. Johnson defines shared prosperity as “fostering income growth among the bottom 40 percent of a country’s population. Without sustained economic growth, poor people are unlikely to increase their living standards. But growth is not enough by itself. Improvement in the Shared Prosperity Indicator requires growth to be inclusive of the less well off.”

These key drivers include having the city lead as an engine of opportunity or serving as a model employer. Examples might be enacting policies and practices that promote equity, inclusion and shared prosperity; developing inclusive hiring practices; contracting with historically underutilized businesses and more.  

Drivers for inclusive community economic development would be making sure the city leverages its procurement dollars in an equitable and inclusive way. The city could also offer education, training and technical assistance robust enough to serve a pipeline of potential vendors. 

A final key driver is the establishment of a Development Venture Fund, or a pool of dollars to support the growth and expansion of home grown historically underutilized businesses. 

Johnson encouraged the council to create an inclusive development logic model indicating problems like economic insecurity, homelessness, gentrification and others, as well as activities to help solve these issues. Putting together a technical assistance and lending program; establishing a competition on innovative ways to create affordable housing; credit building activities; and the establishment of career academies are prime examples. 

“What do you want the city to look like in 2025?” asked Johnson. “You write the script now and work backwards to achieve it.”

Dr. Landis Faulcon, director of Community and Business Development, and Julie Brennan of Fountainworks, a management and consulting company, facilitated one of those scripts. The two led the council in a discussion on the development of a housing policy. The policy would be “a broad statement about the work that local government will do,” said Faulcon. 

The goal of the proposed housing policy will be to facilitate or promote safe, affordable and sustainable housing for its residents. 

After research, comments from various groups and previous studies, Faulcon and her staff drafted five key focus areas for a housing policy. Areas include increasing the supply of safe and decent rental housing, as well as creating affordable home ownership opportunities. Improving the quality of rental properties through housing repair and rehabilitation programs was a third area.  Faulcon also noted the creation of city and private investment opportunities to support housing development, operations and services. Finally, creating a plan for acquiring properties that need to be renovated, and preserving historic properties is a key focus area. 

After discussing focus areas with council, along with objectives and target populations, staff will later provide council with a housing policy draft for consideration. 
“You now have the bones for a good housing policy,” said Brennan. “So, you can continue moving forward with that.” 


Media Contact:
Tameka Kenan-Norman Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
(252) 972-1333

Press Release: Update On Dog Mauling Incident


There have been numerous requests for confirmation that the victim of the dog mauling from last week, Triniti Harrell, has passed away. I feel confidant at this time that the information is correct and that she has passed away as a result of her wounds from this incident. There are still no charges expected in this tragic accident. We ask for continued prayers for her family and the first responders who were involved. We would also ask for restraint and respect for her family in this trying time, in terms of coverage. Please keep a distance from their family home and any funeral proceedings unless they invite you in.

Thank you all for your concern.

I don’t anticipate any further comment on this matter from our office.

E. W. Muse Jr.

Detective Lieutenant

Criminal Investigations Division

Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office

3005 Anaconda Rd.   Tarboro, NC 27886




Press Release: Update on Homicide at 7812 NC 33 NW

Sheriff Cleveland “Clee” Atkinson Jr.


***UPDATE on Homicide at 7812 NC 33 NW***

After more follow-up investigation, Detectives have charged an additional person of interest in this case.

Mitchell Brinson

Apartment 31 Pinehurst Homes Tarboro

DOB- 06/26/2000

Charged with First Degree Murder

Detectives are still actively working leads in this case and continue to ask for the public’s assistance. If you have any information on this incident, please call the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office at 252-641-7911 or email Lieutenant Muse at

Breaking News – Two People Found Deceased On Property In Leggett NC

Sheriff Cleveland “Clee” Atkinson Jr.


On 09/06/18, Edgecombe County Deputies were called to a residence in Leggett to check the welfare of someone thought to be missing. Deputies discovered two people deceased on the property. The victims’ names are not being released at this time per the wishes of their family.

At this time, no one else is believed to be in danger. Suspects are in custody. A full release will be made available during the day on 09/07/18.

We ask for prayers for the family of the deceased.

Oratorical Competition rescheduled

Rocky Mount, N.C.-Due to inclement weather expected in the area, the MLK Oratorical Competition and practice have been rescheduled. The practice for contestants will be held Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers on the third floor of the Frederick E. Turnage Municipal Building. The competition will be held Thursday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. in the Theatre at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences. 
For more information, contact the Human Relations department at 252-972-1180.

Parks and Recreation facilities to open at noon

Rocky Mount, N.C.-Due to inclement weather conditions, Rocky Mount’s BTW Community Center, South Rocky Mount Community Center, the Rocky Mount Senior Center and the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences will open at noon today.
For continued weather updates, visit

For Immediate Release: Eastern North Carolina Civic Group (ENCCG) Conducted A Forum and Straw Poll Of Numerous Candidates For Public Office This Election Cycle

For Immediate Release
Saturday, February 20, 2016

Contact: Curmilus Dancy II
              (252) 314-5484


ENCCG Announces Results of Straw Poll

Williamston, N.C. – On Saturday, February 6, 2016 the Eastern North Carolina Civic Group (ENCCG) conducted a forum and straw poll of numerous candidates for public office this election cycle.

Candidates that received the greatest support during the straw poll were Warren Judge, NC House District 6; Jean Farmer-Butterfield, NC House District 24; June Atkinson, NC Superintendent of Public Instruction; Chris Rey, US Senate; Ken Spaulding, NC Governor; Robert Earl Wilson, NC Lieutenant Governor; Josh Stein and Marcus received equal support for NC Attorney General; Andy Stevens, NC Commissioner of Agriculture; Mazie Ferguson, NC Commissioner of Labor; and Ron Elmer, NC Treasurer.

“These candidates were very forthright in addressing the issues important to Black voters as presented to them during the forum. “We must have strong advocates for issues important to communities of color in order to make North Carolina the progressive leader it should be” Fred Yates, Chairman ENCCG.

ENCCG is the largest civic advocacy organization for people of color covering all or part of 23 counties in eastern North Carolina.

Press Release: Rocky Mount Chamber Singers Set to Deliver Valentine’s Concert and Dinner

Rocky Mount, N. C. – The Rocky Mount Chamber Singers (RMCS) will provide musical entertainment for lovers and guests on Saturday, February 13, 2016, at the ballroom of Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount at 6:00 p.m.  Music will include songs about love, while dinner will consist of a choice of prime rib or chicken marsala. 

Sharing his sentiments about the group’s debut concert at First Presbyterian Church in June 2015, Director Jim Smith stated that the “audience included not only folks from Rocky Mount, but also Wilson, Tarboro, Raleigh, and Cary.”  At the first and a second performance (given at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh in August), the ensemble was rewarded with standing ovations. 

“We want to be known regionally as an excellent small chorus that represents Rocky Mount and the surrounding area,” said Smith.  “We also want to promote a positive image of Rocky Mount and all the good things that it has to offer.” 

The February 13th concert will begin with a half-hour concert of love songs based on the poetry of well-known writers, including Shakespeare, Alexander Pushkin, Emily Dickinson, and Sara Teasdale.

“Guests will then be served a three-course dinner prepared and served by the excellent chef and staff of Benvenue Country Club,” explained Smith.  “Following dinner, the singers will perform another half-hour of love songs, beginning with the very appropriate My Funny Valentine.” 

The remaining selections will include arrangements of popular tunes from the last several decades. Instrumental accompaniment for the group will be piano, bass, and percussion.

“Tickets are $60 per person and include a meal and a full length concert featuring the area’s finest singers,” shared Smith.
Attendants may also dedicate a song to their sweethearts on the evening of the performance. For tickets, visit by February 7th. 

RMCS was formed in March 2015 by Smith and accompanist Virginia Vance.  Comprised of twenty auditioned singers, half of whom are educators, the group also includes attorneys and computer analysts.  In addition to presenting concerts in Rocky Mount, the singers have been invited to perform on 2016-2017 concert series in Raleigh and in Wilmington. 

RMCS will also host its spring concert on Tuesday, May 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.

Contact: Kristian A. Herring (252) 314-4522 

Press Release: Dr. James Mills Candidate For Senate District 4

The Political Agitator’s response: Rep. Angela R. Bryant Rocky Mount NC is currently serving as the Senator in District 4. Stay tuned!

Dr. James Mills, Sr.


“We CAN Do Better”

Halifax County – On December 21, 2015, Nash County native, Dr. James Mills, filed for the North Carolina Senate 4th District seat.  For most of his life, Mills has resided in Halifax County.  Mills has devoted most of his life to public service, putting to use the skills he acquired in business. In New York, he was an auditor at the headquarters of Shell Oil, located at One Rockefeller Plaza, in Manhattan.  He also spent many years working in the manufactured housing business in Rocky Mount, Henderson and Roanoke Rapids, gaining many awards as a high achiever.  He captured national attention when he was elected as the Mayor of Scotland Neck, the second largest municipality in Halifax County.  He served two terms as mayor, and worked tirelessly to improve the economy of the town.  During his term more homes were constructed in the town than had been in the ten years proceeding, two additional restaurants were opened, the town received over $1 million in grants to improve water and sewer, he established a fund to assist indigent people pay their utility bills, submitted the town’s first appropriation request to congress for $10 million for economic development, and established the Scotland Neck Senior Center.  

Dr. Mills has received a huge number of honors and awards, including a Humanitarian Award, an Ambassador of Peace Award, African-American Hero Award, and a Doctorate of Divinity; but he is most proud of the people that he has been able to assist through the years. 

Dr. Mills is married to Jean Mills and they have 5 children. Presently, he is a Deacon at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, a member of the Board of Directors for Legal Aid of North Carolina, and a member of the Board of Trustees for Eastern Carolina Christian College and Seminary.   

Dr. Mills says, “There comes a time when we must take a stand for what we believe.  I believe that we can work together to solve the problems that confront our communities.  Ten years has revealed failed leadership, that resulted in no jobs, poor educational outcomes, poor health, greater unemployment, poor wages, loss of businesses, rise of drug use, criminalization of our youth, decaying housing stock, lack of housing construction, lack of assistance to small businesses, and higher taxes and lower property values.  I know that we can do better.”