Family ‘not satisfied’ after GBI releases cause in SPD in-custody death

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has released new details in their investigation into an in-custody death at Savannah police headquarters.

The GBI was requested by the Savannah Police Department (SPD) to investigate the death of William Harvey, 60. 

According to SPD, Harvey took his own life with “an object in his possession” while he was alone inside an interview room on April 3.

Authorities say he was being questioned in an aggravated assault investigation.

William Harvey

Much of the GBI’s report released Friday is in line with SPD’s findings. The GBI says officers stepped out of the interview room and returned to find Harvey unconscious.

The report, however, offers new information on the cause and manner of Harvey’s death. The GBI says preliminary information indicates Harvey died of suicide by hanging.

His neck injuries were caused by a pair of his shoelaces, the agency said.

SPD and GBI say officers attempted life saving measures.

Attorney Francys Johnson, from the law firm representing the family, said they’re “disappointed” and called the GBI’s report a “PR stunt to support the Savannah Police Department.”

Johnson added that the family was not contacted before the report was released.

“They are not satisfied. This is not the way that you handle the investigation of this nature,” he said.

However, Nelly Miles, GBI Public Affairs Director, said a family member and the family spokesperson were contacted last week regarding the preliminary autopsy reports.

The attorney believes there is video footage from inside the interview room that could shed light on the incident. It’s unclear if such footage exists.

Johnson said Davis Bozeman Law intends to voice the family’s concerns next week in a meeting with GBI’s director.

The agency’s investigation remains active and ongoing. Meanwhile, SPD has launched an internal investigation surrounding Harvey’s death.

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