SAVANNAH, Georgia – Five Georgia police officers were released by hanging following the death of a man in police custody, lawyers for the man’s family said Monday.

The Savannah Police Department fired Cpl. Silberleuschner and Sgt. Michael Kerr as part of the initial investigation into the death of William Zachery Harvey, 60. Officer Matthew White was suspended while three other officers, Sgt. Christopher Hewett, Cpl. Erica Tremblay and Officer David Curtis have been fired after sharing a meme about the hanging death in a group chat.

Another officer was placed on parole.

Harvey was taken to police headquarters for questioning in connection with an investigation into grievous bodily harm, according to a police press release. He was alone in the interrogation room when he was found hanged.

The officers found that he was “injured by an object in his possession,” the police said. The police tried life-saving measures, but were unsuccessful. Harvey died in police custody on April 2.

Lawyer Mawuli Mel Davis, who represents the family, said the alleged serious attack may have occurred at a gas station in Savannah, Georgia, but further details are not known.

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Monday’s press conference came after Davis and his partner Francys Johnson met with Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter, Mayor Van Johnson and other city officials.

Van Johnson said while he and the council have no control over the termination process, Savannah city manager Michael Brown confirmed the layoffs based on the results of the internal affairs investigation.

“I made a promise to the family that we would conduct a thorough internal investigation to see if any rules were being broken or not and that we would be accountable,” said Van Johnson.

“Although I have no role in the decision-making process, I believe after my briefing that your investigation was thorough.”

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Lawyer Francys Johnson echoed these feelings: “This is a tough day. It’s a tough day for the city of Savannah for those who turn to the Savannah Police Department to serve and protect, and it’s a tough day for the Harvey family. “

Davis said there were next steps to be considered, including a possible civil case. Davis said the city knows the case has not yet been referred to the Chatham County District Attorney. “This is a very critical next step because in this report and investigation we know if anyone will be held criminally accountable,” added Davis.

But the Harvey family is asking for answers in this case.

“It was just hard to figure out what happened and how it happened,” said Michael Harvey. “We had so many questions and we have some answers. But we won’t stop until we’ve answered all of our questions.

“We just want to know the truth. We just want to know why that happened. “

Shirley Harvey Francis (William Zachery Harvey’s mother) recently spoke to the media.

Francys Johnson said the law firm has received many “disturbing” complaints from local residents about the Savannah Police Department since the death of William Zachery Harvey. These complaints were forwarded to the city.

“What that says is that there is a culture of tolerance that any person would reject for their goodwill,” said Francys Johnson.

Follow Raisa Habersham on Twitter: @ newsworthy17.

This article originally appeared in the Savannah Morning News: 5 Georgia officers released after William Harvey died in police custody