Released Body Camera Footage, Probe Justifies Shooting, Officer Not Charged

Body camera screenshot from officer-involved shooting, courtesy Fredonia Police Department.

**WARNING: The body camera footage may be graphic for some viewers, discretion is advised.**

FREDONIA – Chautauqua County District Attorney District Attorney Patrick Swanson said that Nathan Scriven, the Fredonia Police officer who was involved in a December shooting on Liberty Street, won’t be charged. In addition, Swanson said a person who allegedly sold LSD to Gueorgui “George” Penev, the person killed, is facing charges.







“There is no evidence to support any charges against Officer (Nathan) Scriven,” Swanson said. “His actions were both lawful and appropriate. We are closing this case. In addition, what we uncovered has led us to charging the person who sold LSD to Mr. Penev that day.”

Swanson said that a SUNY Fredonia College Student, Amanda Bridges, 23, is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. Swanson said she was arrested this morning, but he wasn’t sure if she was arraigned prior to the press conference, when asked by WNYNewsNow. According to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, Bridges was booked into Chautauqua County Jail Friday morning.







DA Swanson and Cheif Brad Meyers officer-involved shooting presser. Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow. 04/05/19.

Swanson detailed how Penev was suffering from acute intoxication of cocaine and LSD, and he was exhibiting an altered mental status with agitated, violent and self-injurious behavior. Penev reportedly locked himself inside a bathroom upstairs.

The District Attorney said that the first responders who responded to the original call for a non-emergency wellbeing check were unaware of what Perev was exhibiting and what drugs were in his system.













“Moments after Officer Nathaniel Scriven of the Fredonia Police Department announced his presence, Mr. Penev burst from the bathroom armed with a steak knife (described as nine inches in length with a four and one-half inch serrated blade) attempting to assault Officer Scriven,” Swanson said. “Because of Officer Scriven’s quick reaction and self-control, he was able to escape down a flight of stairs and outside. Mr. Penev chased Officer Scriven out of the residence, across the yard and down the adjacent property’s drive-way before Officer Scriven was left no choice but to fire his duty weapon.”

Scene of officer-involved shooting. Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow. 04/05/19

Officer Scriven then fired two shots at the man who continued towards the officer. The officer fired two more shots which took down Penev.

“The evidence clearly shows that Mr. Penev aggressively pursued Officer Scriven after emerging from the bathroom with the steak knife raised in his right hand in an attack-like position and failed to heed the officer’s repeated commands to drop the knife,” Swanson said. “Mr. Penev left Officer Scriven with no choice but to fire his service weapon in order to stop Mr. Penev from killing or inflicting serious physical injury on him and/or others.”

Chautauqua County’s top prosecutor acknowledged that, “There is no question that the lives of many were forever altered that day.” Swanson said that Penev’s actions that day weren’t “consistent” with his character, by the accounts he received regarding Penev during his investigation.

“Unfortunately, he was operating under the influence of a number of narcotics that exasperated his struggle with the loss of a friend in the Summer of 2018. His struggle highlights so many who struggle with loss and drug use,” Swanson said. “His family and friends will forever mourn his passing.”

Swanson said that his investigation involved “extensive interviews with over twenty witnesses,” as well as the review of various evidence.

“The incident that day highlights the unexpected dangers police officers regularly confront,” said Swanson. “It highlights how a routine call can turn into something far more serious in an instant.”

“My ethical obligations prohibit me from laying charges where there is no probable cause to support them,” Swanson added. “There is no evidence to support any charges against Officer Scriven.”

Multimedia Journalist Justin Gould contributed to this report. 

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2 Comments

  1. You know….you can’t run or die from getting shot in the foot or knee. Should have left him tf alone. Go looking for problems they will find you..cops a pussy pig you ask me

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