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SAVANNE, Ga. – Five members of the Savannah Police Department have been released. Their terminations are linked to William Harvey’s death in prison in April, according to family lawyers.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said Harvey died of suicide after hanging himself in a Savannah Police Department interrogation room, WSAV reported.

According to the GBI investigation, officers stepped out of the interrogation room. When they returned, they found Harvey unconscious. The police tried to take life-saving measures, but Harvey did not survive. It was unclear how long Harvey was unattended.

Family attorney Francys Johnson met with the Savannah Mayor and Police Chief on Monday. After the meeting, the attorney announced that five members of the Savannah Police Department had been dismissed and a sixth officer had been suspended.

According to Johnson, the detective and supervisor involved in Harvey’s interrogation were sacked and the officers involved in securing the room were either sacked or disciplined, WSAV reported.

Family members did not believe that Harvey was suicidal. They also said that the police did not provide any information.

“Today as the City of Savannah seeks to correct this injustice, we recognize that they did an important thing by first admitting their mistakes and doing something about them,” said Johnson. “If you continue like this, sooner rather than later this family will get the justice they deserve.”

William Harvey (photo courtesy of WSAV)

Some of the officers’ acts were apparently abusive text messages.

When officers were put on administrative leave in May, WSAV reported the group had sent a text message called “Eastside Night Shift”. The content included an officer sharing a GIF with a seemingly black man who is hanging himself.

The officer reportedly asked if it was too early to send the picture to any of the officers who appeared to find Harvey unresponsive in the police interrogation room.

According to WSAV, the mother of the officer who found Harvey filed a formal complaint with the SPD about the group message.

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