Bartlesville, OK — Michael Anthony Livingston, 50, was suspected of selling a plant that is legal in some form in well over half the country. Because the other half of the country still violently and callously kidnaps, cages, and kills people for this plant, however, Livingston is in jail and his mother is now dead.
Geraldine Townsend, 72, was shot and killed this week as a Bartlesville SWAT team executed a search warrant to bust Livingston for the alleged sale of marijuana.
When the heavily armed and likely militarized men kicked in the door to their home, Townsend, likely not knowing who her home invaders were, picked up a pellet gun and fired off two pellets. A Bartlesville officer then shot and killed her.
“While taking Livingston into custody officers heard shots, and two officers were struck with some type of projectile,” Hastings said.
Bartlesville Police Capt. Jay Hastings said the 72-year-old pointed “some type of high-powered pellet handgun” at officers who were forced to return fire. Townsend was struck in the chest and later died at the hospital.
Livingston, the subject of the search warrant, was arrested as he watched his mother get shot in the chest and bleed out on the floor of their home.
As Tulsa World reports,
Four officers had entered the house in the 1600 block of South Maple Avenue in Bartlesville to serve a drug-related search warrant when the shots were fired about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Livingston and the address were allegedly tied to the sale of drugs.
One officer returned fire, striking Townsend in the upper body. Bartlesville police did not identify the officer who discharged a service weapon. Townsend allegedly shot one officer in the leg and another in the face with the pellet gun.
Emergency responders transported Townsend and one officer she shot to a local hospital. Police initially said her condition “appears to be critical.” Townsend died there from her injuries, Hastings said.
The investigation of the shooting has now been turned over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and “no further details can be released,” according to Hastings.
After the raid, the only drug recovered by police was marijuana. According to court records, Livingston was booked into the Washington County Jail on complaints of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia, possession of a firearm in commission of a felony and possession of eavesdropping equipment.
While many people will justify the death of the 72-year-old woman by claiming that her son was breaking the law and she also broke the law when she fired at the officers in her house, it is important to examine the scenario objectively by looking at the morality of the situation versus the legality of it. Legality does not equal morality.
If we look at all the charges brought against Livingston—not a single one of them involves a victim. Had this man actually harmed someone, rest assured it would have been listed. However, all of these charges stem from the sale of a plant.
Had Livingston lived in Colorado, he could have had the potential to be considered a model citizen who is aiding the local economy by selling a plant that is revolutionalizing the state. Instead, because he was in Oklahoma—where marijuana is viciously attacked by drug warriors—he is sitting in a cage with a $500,000 bail and his mom is dead.
This is what the drug war does. It turns entrepreneurs into criminals, puts cops in harm’s way while turning them into home invaders, and kills otherwise entirely innocent grandmas who try to defend their home from would-be burglars. Every minute that this failed and immoral war continues is a travesty of justice and an insult to humanity. The time to end it is now.