Harold McNeil The Buffalo News, N.Y.
FREDONIA, NY — Chautauqua County authorities said there is no evidence to support filing criminal charges against the Fredonia police officer who shot and killed a 23-year-old man in December.
George P. Penev was shot by a Fredonia police officer on Dec. 10.
During a news conference today, officials said body camera footage helped them determine that the officer, Nathaniel Scriven, should not be held criminally liable for the death.
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson said toxicology reports showed Penev had cocaine, LSD and other narcotics in his system.
An examination revealed numerous minor and major force injuries to Penev’s head, neck, chest and upper body, injuries that would have proven fatal absent the shooting, officials said.
Earlier Friday, Fredonia Police arrested SUNY Fredonia College student, Amanda Bridges, of Erie County, who was accused of supplying narcotics to Penev.
Soon after the shooting, a person familiar with the details told The Buffalo News that an officer responded to a call of a person in distress who was refusing to leave a second-floor bathroom on Liberty Street in Fredonia. The officer and a firefighter asked the man to come out of the bathroom, and when he did, blood was flowing from wounds to his chest.
The man – now known to be Penev – moved toward the officer while holding a knife, the source told The News. The officer turned, ran downstairs and ran out the door, with the man following him. That’s when the victim was shot several times, after refusing orders to drop the knife, the source said.
Days later, the Fredonia Police Department identified the officer as Scriven, a 15-year member of the department. Personnel with the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office and State Attorney General’s Office intended to watch footage from the officer’s body camera before determining their next moves.
A lawyer for Scriven said the officer was cooperating with the investigation.
Penev worked for his family’s trucking company, helping to arrange logistics. His Facebook page indicated he graduated from Iroquois High School and studied at Erie Community College.
©2019 The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.)