FIRST ON 12: GBI case file shines light on taser death

George Harvey (WRDW-TV)

George Harvey (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at o' clock/ June 11, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga.--There will be no formal charges filed against the deputy who tased George Harvey before he died last June.

Now, Harvey's family wants to know why deputy Matthew Sanderson is off the hook since Harvey was tased after flagging the deputy down for help. We now have the file, with hundreds of pages of witness interviews, EMS records, autopsy results, and more, that helps answer that question.

A 911 call from the Chevron on Gordon Highway gives us a first glimpse into the moments leading up to George Harvey's death.

The operator answers the phone, "Augusta 911, what is the exact location of your emergency?"

You hear the voice of a worried caller ask, "Could you send this cop some backup?...This man gotta be on some drugs or something. He trying to run out here in the street, and the cop is trying to stop him."

Deputy Matthew Sanderson, who tased Harvey, tells GBI agents he was on the way to work a special assignment when he spotted Harvey screaming and waving to get his attention.

Deputy Sanderson recalls, "He stated, help me, help me. Somebody is trying to kill me."

That's when Sanderson says Harvey began acting erratically, trying to walk into the busy highway. In a statement with GBI investigators, he says, "The more I tried to help him, the more combative he became, and I told him if he didn't stop, I was going to tase him."

The deputy says he tried to cuff Harvey, but he kept kicking and yelling. Harvey's fiance, who was at the scene, says that is not true. She says, "He was on his stomach. How could he be kicking? He was just moving from being tased."

Reports show Sanderson tased Harvey five times for a total of 29 seconds of electric shock running through his body.

Sanderson states, "We rolled him over, he was still arguing...he wasn't saying much, he was yelling. He seemed normal, then he passed out."

But, the video shows when they roll Harvey over, his body is limp. There is no yelling and no combative behavior as the deputy claims. Jerry Harvey, George Harvey's brother, says, "It just puts the proof in the pudding that the officers are lying."

An EMS report states an officer on the scene immediately began CPR, but video shows Harvey was unattended for a period of time. From the time deputies turn Harvey over, 6minutes and 20 seconds pass before deputies begin chest compressions.

The Harvey family has already hired a lawyer. The lawyer has already sent a letter to the city of Augusta to let them know the family intends to sue for damages.

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