A retired four-star Army general and his neighbors accused police in Fayetteville, Georgia of using excessive force to arrest him following an alleged dispute with a food delivery driver.
“It’s the first time in my life I’m ashamed to be an American,” 84-year-old William J. Livsey told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They took me away without my shoes, glasses or medicine. I fought for this country so hard, and I’ve tried to do good all my life.”
Livsey was arrested at his home on Saturday and charged with simple assault, robbery, misdemeanor obstruction, theft and making terroristic threats. Police said he grabbed the driver by the throat and pinned him against a refrigerator when Livsey’s debit card was not accepted and the driver said he could not take a check to pay for an order.
Authorities said the former commander of US forces in South Korea then resisted when officers tried to handcuff him, before attempting to “punch one of the officers and kick another one all while making threatening and disparaging remarks.” Ten officers were reportedly called to the scene.
“Just blown out of proportion,” a neighbor told WSB-TV. “Way too many police for that. Way too many. And the way they handcuffed him was ridiculous.”
The Journal-Constitution noted that a portion of Highway 314 in town was renamed the “General Bill Livsey Highway” in Livsey’s honor. He retired from duty in 1987, following a career that saw him win the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star and Distinguished Service Medal, among other honors.
Livsey’s bond was originally set at $12,000, but he said a local judge released him on his own recognizance. A photograph of Livsey’s wrist after the arrest showed lacerations, but he told WSB on Thursday he was feeling better.
“I feel like I could wipe a tiger’s a*s with sandpaper,” he said.
Watch WSB’s report, as aired on Thursday, below.