Group calls for removal of Harnett County Sheriff and District Attorney

The Livingston family at commission meeting on Monday night. Photo by David Hurst/WNCN

LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) — At Monday night’s county commission meeting, several members of the Harnett County community called to remove the Sheriff and District Attorney from office.


The call came one week after the North Carolina NAACP called for a federal investigation into the Sheriff’s Office, alleging abuses and possible crimes within the office.

Click here for FULL coverage of the Harnett County death of John Livingston

The FBI has already announced they are looking into the death of John Livingston, a Harnett County man who was shot and killed by deputy Nicholas Kehagais at Livingston’s home in November.

Deputies went to Livingston’s home looking for a wanted suspect. Livingston then told authorities to leave, adding that they couldn’t come in without a search warrant, Carroll said.

But during that incident, authorities claim Livingston shut the door on a deputy’s foot, which sparked an altercation between Livingston and Kehagais.

Carroll said that deputies kicked open the door, but officials disagree.

In court documents, authorities say Kehagais dropped his stun gun and Livingston picked it up and shocked the deputy which led to Kehagais shooting Livingston at least three times.

In April, a grand jury declined to indict the deputy involved.

Livingston’s family joined other members of the community at the commission meeting, calling on the board to help bring justice for his death.

Click here for FULL coverage of the Harnett County death of John Livingston

“We’re taking it back because this was a result of us not doing anything about it,” said Maria Arias, a friend of Livingston’s family. “This was us keeping quiet, now we’re paying the price for it. No more.”

Last week…the NC NAACP called for a “Ferguson-like investigation” of the sheriff’s office. They cite at least 12 cases of what they call injustice and corruption.

The Harnett County Board of Commissioners did not address the call to remove the sheriff and district attorney at the meeting, but other members of the community tell CBS North Carolina they still support the recently-sworn in sheriff.

“This man just sat down in this seat and everything happened before he became sheriff,” said Thomas Ellis II. “It’s not fair to target him.”

However others would say, it’s the only way to begin to fix what’s broken in the county.

“The board needs to work for us, they don’t work for each other,” said Arias. “They need to be held accountable and the county needs to be reminded, they work for the citizens. Not the sheriff’s office and not the district attorney’s office.”

The previous sheriff, Larry Rollins, resigned just one day before the district attorney announced he would look to indict a deputy with murder. The group wants Sheriff Coats to be held accountable.

Coats sent a statement last week saying his office is in the process of retaining an attorney to evaluate any claims of misconduct. They’ll also review current protocols and see if any additional procedures are needed.

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