Police Stalling Investigation Of Man Killed After Refusing Warrantless Search
The family of a Spring Lake, North Carolina man who died after Harnett County Sheriff’s deputies allegedly demanded to search his residence without a warrant, and then barged in and dragged him out and shot him – are saying they have received nothing but silence from local police and state investigators.
On Nov. 15, the officers had been attempting to search 33-year-old John Livingston’s trailer near the intersection of Stage Road and W. Everett Drive at about 3:30 a.m.. The cops were looking for a man who no longer lived there that had been implicated in an assault investigation.
According to his roommate, Livingston told the officers they weren’t searching his home without warrant and shut his door, before “[one of the cops] kicked in the door, got on top of him, started slinging him around [and] beat him…”
Police claimed Livingston was fighting with the officers but his roommate said that his friend was only trying to get a Taser out of a deputy’s hand after he was shocked and sprayed in the face with mace.
The roommate, Clayton Carroll, claimed that Livingston “never tried to fight [officers] or nothing” and that “they had no reason for him to be arrested.”
“[The cop] just continued to beat him. Beat him. Sprayed him [with mace]. Shocked him [using a Taser] over and over again,” Carroll said. “The other cop pulled him out by the hair and beard. They pulled him outside. [Deputy] Kehagias was duck-walking behind him. He started Tasing him on the porch.”
The father of three was then shot at least four times according to other witnesses, and was pronounced dead shortly after.
“I kept putting [a blanket] on him and telling him to breathe,” witness Bristol Edge said. “He was gone because I knew he wasn’t breathing anymore. There was no reason for this to happen. They could have subdued John and called for back up.”
All deputies involved in the shooting have been left unidentified except for one: the aforementioned Nicholas Kehagias. They were placed on administrative duty and the State Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation to review what transpired following the incident.
“[They] threw him on his stomach,” Edge said. “He was maced, he was tasered three to four times. And when he got out on the front porch he was shot four times.”
Local news coverage from the time of the incident:
According to Livingston’s family, they haven’t heard a word from prosecutors or police since the shooting and are left wondering why they aren’t getting answers.
“It’s still so hard to take in,” grandmother of Livingston’s three children, Libby Lovings said. “I think they’re doing everything they can to protect their cop. If you or me had shot a cop, you and me would be sitting in a cell. It’s really put a big hole in everybody’s life.”
Other than a six-sentence news release issued on Nov. 15, police and state investigators have offered nothing about the killing. In addition, the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office has repeatedly refused to answer questions about what occurred.
Requests for comment are now being forwarded to the SBI, who has sealed all documents related to the case and asserted that no details will be released until their investigation is completed.
District Attorney Vernon Stewart said earlier this month that he is still waiting on pathology reports before completing his evaluation and making a decision about the matter.
Livingston family lawyer, Jesse Jones raised suspicion about why the report is needed to determine whether charges should be filed against the officers. “We know bullets killed him,” he said. “Why do we need an autopsy back?”
Jones maintains that the authorities are waiting because Livingston had been drinking while he was watching football before the cops arrived, and that they just want to try to make him look bad.
“The whole purpose – hoping, getting a blood-alcohol reading. That’s what the government is trying to do,” Jones said. “That’s a bunch of crap. Never, ever have I seen, ‘We want to see the autopsy before we charge.’ I’ve never seen it done. It’s just the opposite.”
“The family for John Livingston have heard nothing from SBI, Harnett County Sheriff office and Harnett County DA’s office,” Jones added. “Nobody has even… called to check on the family. NOTHING… In all my years of law, I have never seen anything this bad; this unfair.”
Livingston, a West Virginia-born carpenter and framer, is survived by his three young children: Kandis, 11, Cameron, 8, and 14-year-old Little John.
“How many people openly open up their door to a police officer at 3 in the morning knowing they’re not coming for you, and they want to go through the hallway just looking for somebody?” the children’s grandmother, Lovings asked. “How many people would let them through the house? That’s all John said, ‘Come back with a search warrant.'”