February 3, 2016   |   Claire Bernish
February 3, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) Harnett County, NC — Just over 11 weeks have passed since 33-year-old father of three John Livingston was shot and killed on his own front porch by Harnett County Sheriff’s Deputy, Nicholas Kehegias, under highly suspicious circumstances. But his grieving family still hasn’t received any answers from authorities.
“It’s still so hard to take in. That it’s true,” lamented Libby Lovings, grandmother of Livingston’s children, according to the Fayetteville Observer. “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.”
To make matters even more difficult for the family, one day after Livingston’s death, a State Bureau of Investigation spokesperson told the Observer their investigation would be concluded “within a week or less.” Considering what’s known about the case, however, Lovings’ assertion that law enforcement has closed ranks to protect its own might not be far from the truth.
“They shot the wrong guy for the wrong thing,” said Livingston’s neighbor George Thomas, who lives about 25 yards from where the shooting occurred, according to the Observer. “Wrong guy. Wrong house. Wrong everything.”
Police arrived in the early morning hours of November 15 at the trailer where Livingston and his roommate, Clayton Carroll, were living. They were searching for a suspect in an assault case — but that suspect no longer lived at that address, said several witnesses in the area. Deputies came to the door, anyway. When asked by Livingston, they admitted they didn’t have a warrant — so he shut the door. Officers kicked it down, Carroll said, and immediately pounced on Livingston, beating him and even spraying him with mace.
When the struggle moved outside to the deck, the deputy used his Taser — which Livingston instinctively reached for. That’s when the officer drew his gun and fired at least four shots in rapid succession, according to Carroll and witnesses nearby who heard the commotion around 3:40 am. According to WNCN, witnesses said Livingston was not fighting back against the officer when he was shot.
“Do you really need to use all that kind of force?” Lovings asked. “They supposedly dragged him out by the beard, started beating him, then pepper-sprayed him and used a Taser gun on him, and then shot him.”
Carroll characterized the shooting as a “cold-blooded murder.”
Lovings now compares Livingston’s death to that of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014 — a comparison she never thought she would make.
“I used to think the Michael Brown thing was just a bunch of people being crazy in the street,” she told the Observer by phone. “Now I get what the Michael Brown thing is all about.”
Livingston’s family may still sue over his death, but what they really want are answers to why it happened in the first place. “That’s all John said, ‘Come back with a search warrant,’” Lovings said.
“I was brought up where cops were good guys,” she added. “Cops didn’t do bad things like this. That’s what I thought.”
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