Three children lost their father last month, after deputies with the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office looking for a different man, shot and killed 33-year-old John Livingston.
Witnesses report that two police officers arrived at the Spring Lake, North Carolina, residence at around 3:30 AM. Clayton Carroll, a resident, reported that the deputies were looking for someone who no longer lived there.(1,2)
When the police officers asked Livingston, Carroll’s roommate, if they could search the trailer, he responded, “not without a search warrant.” He then closed the door.(1)
“The cop kicked in the door, got on top of him, started slinging him around beat him…” Carroll said. According to Carroll, the cop then started spraying Livingston with mace and using a taser.(1)
Carroll and other witnesses reported that Livingston, who did not have a weapon, did not try to fight back, though he was trying to get the laser out of the deputy’s hand. The brawl then proceeded outside the trailer.
“He (Livingston) barely had the Taser in his hand but he had it where it was constantly going off and the officer I guess that spoke to him rolled over there, says he got the Taser and shot him in this position,” Carroll said while demonstrating what happened to WNCN.(1)
Unarmed man shot six times by deputy
Carroll reported that Livingston was shot six times by the police officer, whereas another witness said he was shot at least four times. WNCN found six bullet holes in the side of the trailer. Livingston was confirmed dead at 4:00 AM.(1,2)
“That’s the blanket I kept putting on him and telling him to breathe until he was gone because I knew he wasn’t breathing anymore,” said Bristol Edge, a friend of Livingston’s, as he pointed to a blanket on the blood-stained porch.(1)
According to Maj. Jeff Huber, Harnett County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Kehagias was involved in the shooting incident. He had been a deputy sheriff since 2013. Following standard protocol, Kehagias has been placed on administrative leave, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.
According to court documents, authorities say Kehagias dropped his stun gun. Kehagias says this caused him to “fear for his life,” which prompted him to shoot Livingston at least three times.
On the contrary, Carroll claims Kehagias never dropped the stun gun, and that Livingston was shot while he was struggling with the deputy to gain possession of the taser.
Livingston was described by friends and family as a kind man, an excellent carpenter and a loving father. Livingston’s oldest son describes his dad as “his best friend.” Livingston didn’t do anything wrong. He was simply exercising his Constitutional right to refuse a search without a warrant.(2)
Affidavits confirm that the deputies never had a search warrant when they arrived at Livingston’s home early that Sunday morning. According to the documents, a search warrant was only obtained and executed for the house six hours after the shooting.(2)
The increasing tyranny of the police state
While the details of the situation remain murky, it’s clear that Kehagias’s actions were unjust and unlawful. The entire incident has the telltale signs of a police state, which no longer values liberty and privacy.
“We have morphed into a culture that has quietly accepted surveillance in virtually every area of our lives—police and drug sniffing dogs in our children’s schools, national databases that track our finances and activities, sneak-and-peek searches of our homes by government agents without our knowledge or consent, and anti-terrorism laws that turn average Americans into suspected criminals,” explains John Whitehead in his book A Government of Wolves.(3)
“This is not to say that the police are inherently ‘bad’ or ‘evil.’ However, in enforcing policies that both injure citizens and undermine freedom, the police have become part of the bureaucratic machine that neither respects citizen dignity nor freedom. Operating relatively autonomously, this machine simply moves forward in conveyor-belt fashion, utilizing the police and other government agents to establish control and dominance over the citizenry.”(3)