UPDATED Fayetteville widens probe into 4-star general’s arrest


UPDATED — Fayetteville police are investigating “additional information” in the Aug. 15 arrest of one-time four-star U.S. Army General William Livsey, according to Chief Scott Pitts in a Monday statement.

Police handcuffed and jailed the 84-year-old retiree after a delivery of takeout food from a Chinese restaurant resulted in a scuffle over the $80.60 bill inside the general’s Carriage Chase home and a subsequent confrontation with officers.

“The department and its members fully support the criminal justice system in Fayette County and wish for a positive resolution that supports the best interest of General Livsey and the complainant,” Pitts said.

“The police department has an obligation to conduct a thorough examination of all information and upon completion of this ongoing investigation will prepare and present a detailed report to the district attorney’s office. The police department has already been in contact with the district attorney’s office concerning this case and will continue to work closely with them throughout this process,” Pitts said.

The general’s wrists and arms received lacerations and bruises during the arrest, requiring paramedics’ treatment before he was jailed. Livsey was released on $12,000 bond two days after his arrest following a hearing before Magistrate Judge Robert Ruppenthal. Two other judges had recused themselves from the case before Ruppenthal handled it.

Some of Livsey’s neighbors said in a televised report that police had been too rough with the aged general, who walks with the support of a cane.

City officials defended the officers’ action, saying no undue force had been used.

The delivery driver has since said he wanted to drop all charges in favor of an apology from Livsey and “not having to ever deliver to him again.”

Ryan Irvin, 26, who has worked for Royal Chef Restaurant for more than six years, said he asked police to drop charges but that they refused and told him it was out of their hands.

Tim Bedgood of Sharpsburg, a part-time employee of Livsey, told The Citizen that he was present at the altercation. According to Bedgood, one of two female “guests” of Livsey took the sack of Chinese food from Irvin and began distributing it on the kitchen counter while Irvin attempted to get payment from Livsey.

Bedgood said the general had left out $120 in cash but that the money was nowhere to be found when he sought to pay the driver.

He then attempted to pay with a debit card, both Bedgood and Irvin told The Citizen, but the card was declined electronically. When Livsey offered to pay with a check, Irvin said he told him the restaurant did not take checks.

At that point the stories diverge. Irvin said the general was embarrassed and angry. When Irvin attempted to take the food back, Livsey allegedly grabbed his beard and neck and pushed him against a refrigerator, saying, “I’m gonna whip your a—,” Irvin told The Citizen in a recorded statement.

Bedgood’s version is that Irvin attempted to retrieve the food sack from one of the women — identified as “Tanji” — resulting in a small tug of war. That was when Livsey intervened, grabbing Irvin and saying, “Talk to me! Talk to me!” Bedgood told The Citizen in a recorded statement.

“If that girl had just let go of that bag, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you today,” Bedgood said Aug. 18 in an interview at The Citizen office. Bedgood said he drove to the restaurant and paid the bill before police came to the home.

The general is facing a felony charge of robbery because of the then-unpaid bill and the delivery driver’s allegation that the older man choked the 26-year-old and pushed him against a refrigerator inside the general’s home. That also brought a misdemeanor theft of services charge.

Other misdemeanor charges resulted from actions taken after police arrived and involved the officers’ interaction with the general: two obstruction charges, simple assault, and terroristic threats and acts.

Livsey retired after several commands — Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Europe, Deputy Commanding General in the U.S. Army Forces Command and Commanding General of the Third U.S. Army, Fort McPherson — with the highest rank available in a peacetime Army, four-star general.

Livsey is the recipient of the Silver Star for gallantry in action, Defense Distinguished Service Medal and a number of other decorations.

His wife of 60 years died in 2013, and he lives alone with various caregivers in Fayetteville.