GBI to investigate in-custody death of suspect in Savannah; new details shared

After William Zachery Harvey died in Savannah police custody, his family held a news conference...
After William Zachery Harvey died in Savannah police custody, his family held a news conference with an attorney.(WRDW)
Published: Apr. 16, 2021 at 10:30 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - State authorities are sharing new details in the case of William Harvey, a 60-year-old man who reportedly died after being brought into Savannah police headquarters for questioning on April 2.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation reports that its assistance was requested by the Savannah Police Department on April 3 to investigate the in-custody death.

The investigation indicates that Harvey was being questioned in an aggravated assault investigation, according to a news release from the GBI this morning. Officers stepped out of the interview room and returned to find Harvey unconscious with injuries to his neck caused by a pair of Harvey’s shoelaces.

Officers attempted life-saving measures, but Harvey died as a result of his injuries, GBI reported.

The GBI medical examiner has provided a preliminary cause and manner of death as suicide by hanging.

Savannah police personnel involved have been placed on administrative leave in accordance with department policy.

Harvey’s death has led to frustration and calls for answers from both his family and the community.

“What we know about an interrogation room is that it is supposed to be a place where in interrogation is going on which means that there is an officer there and there’s constant observation. So for anyone to have enough time to allegedly take their own life, is absolutely baffling and concerning for us,” said Mawuli Davis, the family’s legal counsel from Davis Bozeman Johnson Law Firm.

The GBI reports that their investigation remains active and ongoing. Once complete, it will be provided to the Eastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney for review.

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