The Covington officer involved a struggle that resulted in a man’s death earlier this month will not be prosecuted, Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders said at a press conference Wednesday.
Ethan Livingood shot Ludlow resident Garren Patty on July 9 after what Sanders called a violent attack on the officer.
Sanders discussed the results of the investigation into the incident at the press conference, where the body camera footage of the incident was shown.
“This is the most violent physical attack I’ve seen upon a law enforcement officer in Kenton County since I’ve been commonwealth attorney for almost 18 years,” Sanders said. “Ethan Livingood was undoubtedly justified in his use of force and self defense.”
Sanders wrote in a statement that the use of deadly force was both “justified and legal” and that he found “no probable cause to believe any crime was committed by Livingood.”
Thus, no criminal prosecution against the officer will take place.
Patty had a criminal history that included theft, marijuana possession and an assault charge, Sanders said. He added that he’s had multiple addresses throughout the county over years, but he was not aware of Patty’s living arrangements at the time of the shooting.
Livingood was hired on as a Covington police officer in 2016, Sanders said. He works as a patrolling officer but also has worked as a field training officer, a bike officer and a member of the SWAT team. Sanders said that Livingood did not have any disciplinary actions on his record.
Sanders then went on to describe the events of the day leading up to the shooting before playing the entire, unedited body camera video.
Sanders said that on July 9, a 911 caller had reported a man acting strangely and damaging cars along Oakland Avenue.
“The person that did that damage to the car when confronted by the 911 caller then threatened the caller and left on foot, headed toward the Licking River,” Sanders said.
Livingood later encountered Patty as he was moving down Glenway, Sanders said.
LINK nky is not posting the body camera footage online, but below is a description of what occurred based on what was shown at the press conference.
The body camera footage showed Livingood leaving his car and approaching Patty, who was shirtless and yelling. Livingood asked why Patty was screaming and if he was OK. Livingood then asked Patty to sit down so they could talk.
Patty refused and approached Livingood, who instructed him to stop. When Patty refused again, Livingood brandished his taser and told him to stop again.
Patty then raised his hands and charged the officer, who discharged his Taser twice but failed to stop Patty’s advance. A struggle ensued on the ground.
It’s difficult to tell the details of the fight from the body cam footage, but Livingood can be heard saying that Patty has his gun.
Livingood ultimately shot Patty seven times, Sanders said.
The video shows that when Livingood regained his footing, Patty was laying on the pavement. Livingood immediately called for backup and first aid.
Later on in the video, after EMS and other officers arrived, Livingood began crying.
“I was just talking to him, man,” Livingood said. “I couldn’t get him to stop.”
Patty was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died of his wounds. Livingood was treated for minor injuries.
After the shooting, the officer was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation from Kentucky State Police.
“It is obvious from this video that Specialist Livingood did not want this fight, but the fight was thrust upon him,” Sanders said.
Sanders went on to say that toxicology reports have not yet been completed, so his office doesn’t currently know if Patty was intoxicated. He also said that investigations failed to uncover a history of mental illness.
This was Livingood’s first encounter as a police officer where he was responsible for someone’s death, Sanders said. He had been in contact with the officer since the incident.
“I’m sure he will recover from the physical injuries he suffered much, much faster than will the weight of his actions and knowing what the outcome of this encounter was,” Sanders said.
Read the commonwealth attorney’s full written statement here.