A North Carolina grand jury chose not to indict a sheriff’s deputy who shot and killed a man after he demanded to see a warrant to search his home last year.
Harnett County sheriff’s deputies banged on John Livingston’s door last November, searching for an assault suspect who was not at the home.
Livingston demanded to see a search warrant, but the deputies had none, so Livingston shut the door in their face.
That prompted deputies to kick in the door where they dragged him out on his porch, placed him facedown, and began beating, tasering and pepper spraying him.
At one point during the torture, Livingston grabbed on to a deputy’s taser, which was when Harnett County sheriff’s deputy Nicholas Kehagias pulled out his gun and shot him three times.
Livingston’s roommate said Livingston was not fighting back, just trying to keep from being tortured.
But the 18-member grand jury, which met in secret Monday, apparently was led to believe that the act of grabbing a taser to keep from being tased was a threat to the deputy, which was why they decided to not indict him.
After the grand jury declined to indict Kehagias, Reives said: “I’m happy for Nick and his family that this portion is over. He’s a really good person who got put in a really difficult situation.”
Reives added: “I know he is sorry for how things are.”
The grand jury’s decision came after months of unease in Harnett County. Livingston’s friends and family have protested in front of the courthouse, telling anyone who would listen that Kehagias killed Livingston for no reason.
They congregated on Facebook, sharing their worries and speculation. As the weeks and months passed without an arrest, they feared his death would go unanswered. They were skeptical that a grand jury would indict.
“I don’t know how to go on,” Kathy Livingston, John Livingston’s mother, said Monday after learning of the grand jury’s decision. “That’s a failure to my son. There is no justice.”
Bradley Timmerman, who was at John Livingston’s home and witnessed the shooting, said the 18 jurors asked him very few questions. He said they wanted to know if Livingston used any force on Kehagias that night.
“It wasn’t too good of a crowd,” Timmerman said. “They looked at me like they couldn’t wait to be done.”
Kehagias, 26, has been on the force for less than three years. He has been on paid administrative leave since the November 15, 2015 shooting.
But now that he has been cleared of charges, he is expected to go back on duty.