FIRST ON 12: Autopsy results released for Augusta man tased by deputies


UDPATE: News 12 at 6 o' clock/ December 19, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga.--The more George Harvey's family looks over his autopsy report, the more questions they have about what really happened that day.

The detailed report from the GBI crime lab blames 'the combined toxicity of cocaine methamphetamine and ethanol' in George Harvey's system as the chief cause of death, but there were other serious factors at play.

Jerry Harvey is George Harvey's brother and hes says, "It went too far. He was tased 5 times, no matter what he had in his system, he was on the ground from the first tase."

Combine those drugs with an altercation with police and being tased 5 times, and the results turned deadly. That's why the details concerning why Harvey was tased are so important to his family. They're concerned about conflicting reports documented in the investigation.

The investigators report says Deputy Sanderson was on the way to work a special when he saw Harvey trying to flag him down at the gas station.

Harvey points out, "The officer made his own statement saying my brother flagged him down. That's what Sanderson said. The officer said. I didn't say it, no one else said it, the officer said it."

But, the GBI report documents a different story, saying, 'earlier that evening, Mr. Harvey was in the middle of the road acting bizarrely when an off-duty officer saw him.'

Harvey says, "They're missing out details in the report that they want to miss out."

The family also wants to know why a taser was used there in the first place.

"The RCSO policy is right here where it says you're not to use a taser at a gas station," Harvey says.

Harvey was tased in the parking lot of the Chevron on Gordon Highway, but the taser policy states the tasers 'shouldn't be used in the proximity of flammable liquids, gas, or blasting materials.'

We reached out to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, but they did not want to comment on the case.

News 12 at 6 o' clock/ December 18, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga.--We are getting our first look into why George Harvey died after deputies tased him back in June.

Richmond County Coroner Grover Tuten explains, "Immediate cause of death is multiple drug intoxication along with electromagnetic impulse from a taser gun. and it is ruled a homicide."

The coroner makes it clear that even though they've ruled George Harvey's death a homicide, that doesn't indicate any intent or malice.

"If someone dies as a result of a violent act, it's a homicide," he says.

This report from the GBI crime lab comes 6 months after Harvey allegedly became unruly, and was tased by a deputy outside the Chevron on Gordon Highway. He died soon after. Toxicology reports reveal he had drugs in his system, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and alcohol. Officials say that contributed to his death.

Tuten says, "Cocaine is causing the heart to beat at 230-240 beats a minute."

The autopsy reveals Harvey was tased a total of 5 times. It says the first four tases were 5 seconds each, the officer then drive stunned Harvey on his back, and the last deployment lasted 9 seconds.

Harvey's brother, Jerry Harvey says, "It went too far. He was tased 5 times, no matter what he had in his system, he was on the ground from the first tase."

The report states the officer handcuffed Harvey on the ground. They rolled him over, and the report states Harvey 'continued yelling,' then 'seemed to pass out.' But, cell phone video we obtained from the scene tells a different story. You can see Harvey not moving on the ground as they roll him over. He does not continue to yell, and his hands and ankles are already shackled.

Jerry Harvey says, "They could've easily got him help, medical attention, but they didn't do that. They continued on tasing him when he was on the ground."

The report also says a short time later, 'Mr. Harvey stopped breathing and CPR was begun.' But, video tells a different story. Deputies leave Harvey unattended for several minutes. From the time they turn him over and find him non-responsive, 6 minutes and 20 seconds pass before deputies begin chest compressions. Now, family members say, they just want justice.

"I'm asking that the officers get dealt with their punishment," Harvey says.

District Attorney Ashley Wright received the complete investigation from the GBI last Friday, but she hasn't yet determined what, if anything, the deputies will be charged with. Of course we'll stay on top of this investigation and be sure to let you know.


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