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Retired 4-star general jailed in Fayetteville over Chinese takeout

A retired four-star general was out on bond Tuesday after being taken to the Fayette County jail over the weekend for allegedly ordering Chinese food without paying for it and then assaulting a delivery driver.

“It was the worst thing that happened to me in all of my life,” William J. Livsey told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, recalling the “10 cops here for one 84-year-old man” at his Fayetteville home Saturday evening.

In an emailed statement to the AJC, Fayetteville police Chief Scott Pitts said that after his order from the Royal Chef restaurant arrived at his home, Livsey tried to pay the driver with a debit card that was declined.

When Livsey offered to pay with a check instead, the driver told him checks were not accepted by the restaurant and he would have to take the food back, the police chief said.

That is when Livsey allegedly grabbed the driver’s throat and facial hair, pushed him and pinned him against a refrigerator in his kitchen. During the assault, police said, two people in the home took the food, placed it on a counter and began eating it.

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The driver was ultimately released and reported the incident to police, the chief said.

Officers went to Livsey’s home in the 200 block of Carriage Chase. Police said he told them he ordered the food and consumed some of it without paying for it. He also said the delivery driver pushed him when his debit card was rejected, Pitts said.

As officers tried to handcuff him, Livsey resisted, according to the police chief. The struggle created a small laceration on Livsey’s arm. Fayette County EMS was called to the scene to treat the injury and police tried to handcuff Livsey again.

The police chief said Livsey tried “to punch one of the officers and kick another one all while making threatening and disparaging remarks.”

In his interview with the AJC, the retired general spoke with emotion over what he called his mistreatment by authorities.

“It’s the first time in my life I’m ashamed to be an American,” Livsey said. “They took me away without my shoes, glasses or medicine.”

He added, “I fought for this country so hard, and I’ve tried to do good all my life.”

Livsey was a platoon leader in the Korean War and later commanded an infantry battalion in Vietnam before returning to South Korea to command U.S. forces there in the mid-1980s. He retired in 1987.

He received many awards and decorations during his military career, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

In October 2008, a portion of Highway 314 in Fayetteville was renamed the “General Bill Livsey Highway” in Livsey’s honor.

Livsey was taken to the Fayette County jail on charges of robbery, misdemeanor obstruction, theft of services, simple assault and terroristic threats.

The retired commander said there were several guests at his house at the time of the incident. He said he sent his assistant to the restaurant to pay for the food and give the driver a tip.

Livsey also said Royal Chef wanted to drop the incident but the Fayetteville police made “a spectacle of it and a spectacle of me.”

Livsey said his bond was set at $12,000 but he said “I didn’t have to pay that. The judge released me on my own recognizance.”

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