Harnett County Sheriff’s Office hires outside counsel to aid in misconduct claims

LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) – The Harnett County sheriff said it is in the process of retaining outside counsel to assist in dealing with claims of police misconduct and reviewing protocols and procedures.

Sheriff Wayne Coats issued a statement in response to media reports of deadly incidents involving members of the Sheriff’s Office.

Coats stopped short of making any specific comments regarding a federal investigation into the Office but urged citizens to have patience before coming to any conclusions.

“I believe in, and value, our deputies and staff who work in stressful roles whether that is on the road as a deputy, in our 911 center answering emergency calls, or in our detention center monitoring those incarcerated,” Coats said in a release.

Coats confirmed his office has received requests from the United States Attorney’s Office concerning certain incidents involving the sheriff’s office.

The FBI said it is now investigating the Nov. 2015 shooting death of John Livingston.

Livingston was shot and killed by Harnett County Deputy Nicholas Kehagias after Kehagias tried to enter his home without a warrant.

Court documents say Livingston grabbed Kehagais’ Taser after the two argued. Kehagias then shot Livingston multiple times.

Last month a grand jury decided there was not enough evidence to indict the deputy on murder charges.

Coats said his office is in the process of retaining outside counsel to assist in: in:

  • Evaluating any and all claims of police misconduct
  • Immediately reviewing current protocols and procedures
  • Considering additional procedures

Coats took office March 22 after Larry Rollins stepped down as sheriff.

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