Henry County chairwoman gets restraining order against resident

Henry County Commission chairwoman Carlotta Harrell has ben granted a restraining order against a citizen Harrell says has been harassing her. (STEVE SCHAEFER/THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION).

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Henry County Commission chairwoman Carlotta Harrell has ben granted a restraining order against a citizen Harrell says has been harassing her. (STEVE SCHAEFER/THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION).

Henry County Chairwoman Carlotta Harrell has been granted a restraining order against a citizen the lawmaker says has been harassing and stalking her on social media for more than a year.

Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs on Monday ordered Marion Calhoun, a former candidate for Henry County sheriff and a community activist, to stay away from Harrell for the next three years.

The decision says that Calhoun cannot come within 200 feet of the commission chairwoman or her family. A violation could lead to an aggravated stalking charge, which carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

“Personally I haven’t done anything to this lady,” said Harrell, who said in a phone interview after the hearing that Calhoun’s actions went beyond criticism of a public official into stalking. “For some reason she just has a great dislike for me.”

The decision comes six months after the chairwoman revealed at the end of last year that she had been given a security detail after alleged threats on her life and harassment via social media, email, phone calls and texts. A judge in May 2021 granted Harrell a one-year restraining order against Calhoun that directed her not to contact Harrell or to post on social media about the chairwoman.

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As evidence of harassment, Harrell sent the AJC several posts from Calhoun, in which she accuses Harrell of corruption, along with state Sen. Emanuel Jones, Henry County Sheriff Reginald Scandrett and others. In one post, she calls Harrell and Jones “house negroes,” a phrase that refers to enslaved Blacks who were assigned to housework during slavery and now used derisively in the Black community.

Calhoun, who said she plans to appeal the decision, said she was not harassing Harrell, but exercising her right to free speech.

She said the language she used in Facebook posts about Harrell — including calling the chairwoman vile, corrupt and using an expletive to describe the official —were her opinion and not harassment.

“She said me saying the word snake was threatening,” Calhoun, who defended herself at the hearing, said of the judge. “There is nothing wrong with me calling Carlotta Harrell a snake.”

Calhoun said she does not plan to refrain from criticizing the chairwoman because of the restraining order.

“It’s not going to stop me from doing what I do,” she said.