Monday, July 1, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The GBI investigation into the death of a man who was tased by deputies continues.
George Harvey, 39, died Saturday. He was tased during an altercation on Gordon Highway.
Harvey's fiancee, who witnessed the entire ordeal, says he flagged down deputies for help to diffuse a fight between the two of them. She says Harvey was upset, and the next thing she knew, Harvey was on the ground after being tased. When they handcuffed him, he wasn't moving.
Officials have not said how many times Harvey was tased.
His sister, Alvera Harvey, says the family is devastated it all had to end like this.
She works at the Augusta Medical Prison and says she knows deputies have a dangerous job but wishes officers had more compassion for the family.
His sister issued the following statement:
"I am sad, I am upset, but most of all I am angry because the RSCD is not telling us anything, not even acknowledging that my brother died. We have not even been allowed to see his body. If he had died at the hands of a civilian, RCSD would have been at the house offering condolences, asking questions, getting statements, and promising to get to the bottom of it. Are we and my brother's death not worthy of sympathy because he died in the 'custody' of Richmond County? Does our pain not matter?
My brother had no heart problems until a police Taser ended his life. I did not arrive at the scene until late, but witnesses on the scene say he was tased at least 3 times, once before he hit the ground and the rest thereafter. Now I work in law enforcement so I know that sometimes use of force is necessary, but in my YEARLY mandatory trainings and just regular daily duties of working in a prison, we learn that we only exert the minimal amount of force necessary to control the situation and the offender. Now many times size plays a role in the amount of force necessary and more force may be needed. My brother was only 5'3" and he may have weighed more than 200 pounds but most of that was beer belly. There was no weapon and he was not being arrested for anything. HE FLAGGED THE POLICE down because he felt he needed help and that resulted in his death.
I am an advocate for law enforcement and understand and praise the police for the dangerous job that they do every day. However, the motto of 'to protect and to serve' should go beyond just protecting the citizens from the bad guys; but to also provide service and compassion to the families left behind, no matter the circumstances. Not only do I perform duties of security, but I also perform the duties of a case manager and daily I receive phone calls from family members who are concerned about their loved ones in our facility. Many times the calls are not about when their loved one is being released, but just to have someone listen to their concerns and offer some type of comfort to them until their loved one comes home again. My lil’ brother will never come home. I know that my brother was not perfect but he loved people and people loved him. He mattered to somebody; he mattered to us. RIP Lil' Bro. I love you always."
The family says Harvey has no history of heart or health problems.
Meanwhile, the deputy involved in this case is on administrative leave while the GBI investigates.