Nicholas Kehagias

From LEO Ratings

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Service Record

Agency Harnett County North Carolina Sheriff's Office
Rank Deputy
Dates of Service 2013 - June 30, 2016.[1]
Salary $32,242 (2015)[2]
Last Known Status Resigned[3]
Agency Pender County North Carolina Sheriff's Office
Rank Deputy
Dates of Service Hired April 2019.[4]
Salary $45,311 (2020)[5]
Last Known Status Active

Incident Reports

2015 Arrest of Michael Cardwell

On May 12, 2015, Kehagias and Deputies Michael Brandon Klingman and John Knight responded to 911 calls made by Michael Cardwell, which were classified by the 911 dispatcher as related to an attempted suicide. The deputies found Cardwell in his driveway.[6]

Cardwell claimed that when he asked the officers their names, Klingman replied, "Donald Duck", and that when he asked them to turn on their body-worn cameras, Kehagias responded, "We don’t got no video".[6]

Cardwell paced in his driveway and gesticulated while speaking about his frustrations with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and threw a beer can toward the back of his truck and away from the officers. Kehagias tackled Cardwell to the ground and handcuffed him, breaking Cardwell's leg and rib. The deputies also pepper-sprayed Cardwell multiple times, even after Cardwell had been handcuffed and seated in a chair.[6]

Cardwell was charged with resisting arrest. The charge was dismissed.[6]

Response Timeline

Cardwell sued the officers, claiming that he was arrested without the probable cause necessary for a mental health seizure and subjected to excessive force, both in violation of the Fourth Amendment.[6]

The District Court rejected the officers' defense of qualified immunity and upheld the charge of excessive force.[6]

The officers appealed. The Court of Appeals found that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity, as it was not clearly established at the time of the incident that the officers lacked probable cause for a mental health seizure.[6]

The Sheriff's office settled the lawsuit. See below for more information.

2015 Arrest Tyrone Bethune and Ryan Holloway

On July 30, 2015, Kehagias and Deputies John Werbelow and Justin Thomas went to the wrong house when attempting to serve a warrant. Kehagias entered the home without permission, pulled Holloway from the house, and handcuffed him. Bethune was also removed from the house by Kehagias, slammed to the ground, and handcuffed.[6]

Kehagias claimed that he had probable cause to enter the house and make arrests because he smelled marijuana from the doorway and he knew that Bethune had an outstanding arrest warrant.[6]

Response Timeline

Bethune and Holloway sued the officers, alleging unreasonable seizures and the use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.[6]

The district court denied the officers' claim of qualified immunity and upheld the charge of excessive force.[6]

The officers appealed, still looking for qualified immunity against Bethune's claim of unreasonable seizure . The court rejected the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.[6]

The Sheriff's office settled the lawsuit. See below for more information.

2015 Arrest of Wesley Wright

On September 15, 2015, Kehagias was called to Wright's house for a domestic disturbance.[7]

Wright claimed that Kehagias entered his house without cause, handcuffed him, injured him while removing him from the house, and kicked and pepper sprayed him while he was handcuffed.[7]

Wright was charged with resisting, delaying, and obstructing his investigation of the domestic disturbance call. The charge was later dismissed.[7]

Response Timeline

Wright sued Kehagias.

The Sheriff's office settled the lawsuit. See below for more information.

2015 Death of John Livingston

On November 15, 2015, Kehagias went to Livingston's home in search of a subject. Livingston claimed that the man did not live at the house, but Kehagias entered the house. Kehagias and Livingston engaged in a physical fight, which witnesses said involved Kehagias using a taser and pepper spray. Kehagias shot and killed Livingston, who he claimed was attempting to use the taser against the deputy.[3][8][8]

From the publicity of the shooting, other people accused Kehagias of abuse as described above.[3]

Response Timeline

On April 11, 2016, a grand jury chose not to indict Kehagias on criminal charges.[3][9]

On June 30, 2016, Kehagias resigned from the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office, stating that he "cannot risk putting my fellow law enforcement officers in increased danger due to the environment created by a dishonest media and a baseless lawsuit, combined with the dangerous rhetoric or actions of certain person(s) in the community".[1]

Livingston's family sued, alleging unlawful entry and arrest, excessive force in effectuating the arrest, and the unjustified use of deadly force, all in violation of the Fourth Amendment.[6]

The District Court reject the deputies claim of qualified immunity and upheld the charge of excessive force.[6]

The officers appealed. The Court of Appeals denied the appeal on various grounds.[6]

The Sheriff's Office settled the lawsuit with all the plaintiffs for $6 million, which is the maximum allowed under their insurance policy.[3]

LEO Ratings

Training and Tactics rating: bad
Protect & Serve rating: bad
Individual Rights rating: bad
Accountability and Integrity rating: neutral
Off Duty rating: neutral
Ratings Definitions

References