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Five Georgia cops are FIRED and another is suspended after suspect, 60, was found hanging in interrogation room - as investigators find officers shared meme joking about his death

 Five Savannah police officers have been fired, and one has been suspended, after leaving a 60-year-old suspect alone in an interrogation room - where he took his own life - then sharing a meme joking about his hanging.

The Savannah Police Department, in Georgia, announced on Monday that it had fired Cpl. Silver Leuschner and Sgt. Michael Kerr in connection with William Harvey's suicide in a police interview room. Officer Matthew White was suspended.

Three other officers, Sgt. Christopher Hewett, Cpl. Erica Tremblay, and Officer David Curtis, were also fired for sharing a meme of the hanging death in a group chat.

Harvey was found unconscious with injuries to his neck, apparently from his shoelaces, on April 2 at police headquarters, after being questioned in connection with an aggravated assault. Attorney Mawuli Mel Davis, who is representing the Harvey family in the investigation, said the alleged assault may have occurred at a gas station but did not offer any other information about it, according to Savannah Now.

The police officers - Leuschner, Kerr and White - allegedly left the room at one point during the interrogation, and returned to find Harvey unconscious.

They attempted to save Harvey, WJCL reports, but he died of his injuries.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was then brought in to investigate Harvey's death, and on April 16 the bureau concluded that evidence showed Harvey died after hanging himself with his own shoelaces while left alone in the interview room.

Sgt. Michael Kerr, pictured, was one of the officers suspended in connection with Harvey's death. He is pictured here receiving an award for his work in the Savannah Police Department

Sgt. Michael Kerr, pictured, was one of the officers suspended in connection with Harvey's death. He is pictured here receiving an award for his work in the Savannah Police Department

The Savannah Police Department has fired five officers and temporarily suspended another in connection with the death of a man who authorities say killed himself when he was left alone in a police interview room

The Savannah Police Department has fired five officers and temporarily suspended another in connection with the death of a man who authorities say killed himself when he was left alone in a police interview room

Police did not say what specific actions prompted their firing. But Francys Johnson, an attorney for Harvey's family, said city officials told him the officers had neglected to turn on video surveillance cameras in the room when Harvey was left alone.

'They failed to take the most basic step in policing,' Johnson said. 'That´s beyond the pale. We shouldn´t be left to guess what happened in an interrogation room because it should be recorded.' 

Three others officers were also fired in connection with a text message shared among Savannah officers that mocked Harvey's death, the police statement said.

All of the terminated officers, except for Officer David Curtis, who was terminated for 'conduct unbecoming of an officer, insubordination, treatment of others, truthfulness/honesty and office of professional standards,' filed an appeal with the police chief and city manager, WTOC reported, but their terminations were upheld.


At a news conference on Monday, an attorney (right) for Harvey's family (pictured) said they were grateful for the police department, but still have questions about his untimely death

At a news conference on Monday, an attorney (right) for Harvey's family (pictured) said they were grateful for the police department, but still have questions about his untimely death 

At a news conference on Monday, Mayor Van Johnson said he, Police Chief Roy Minter and other city officials have all agreed Harvey's untimely death never should have occurred, and the officers involved violated Savannah Police Department policies.

'I promised the family that we would thoroughly investigate it internally and determine whether rules were broken or not followed, and we would have accountability,' the mayor said, per Savannah Now.

'Although I don't have any role in the decision-making process, I believe from my briefing that their investigation was thorough.'  

But attorney Francys Johnson said Harvey's family still has questions about his death and is awaiting the GBI's final report before deciding whether to accept that he killed himself.

'Everything we´ve seen thus far lines up with that,' Johnson said, 'but we won´t get ahead of the report.'

He praised the mayor and police chief for investigating Harvey's death and taking disciplinary action.

'To have five officers that were part of this in different levels e disciplined and terminated sends a message for this family that their son, their father and their brother, that his life in fact mattered,' said attorney Mawuli Mel Davis. 

The next step, he said, will be to determine if criminal charges or civil litigation are warranted.   

Harvey was the primary caregiver to his mother, Shirley Harvey Francis, who is battling cancer, Savannah Now reports.

'He was the next thing to me to God,' Francis told the outlet in April. 'He saw that I took my medicine, he did everything for me, he was my lifeline in this world.'

Charie Francis said her other siblings would check in on their mother periodically, but Harvey was by her side every day. Now, they are doing their best to make sure she's okay, she said.

'He cooked her breakfast, lunch and dinner, washed and folded her clothes,' Charie said at the time. 'Now she won't have that anymore...I'm worried for her.'

She described Harvey as someone who was close to his family and was there for her when she lost her own son.

'He was my shoulder to cry on,' she said.

Charie also described Harvey as a man who 'enjoyed life,' and would make those around him laugh, including herself. 

'If you could see the way he was, you know, that that's not the man he was; what they say he did,' she said. 'It hurts but I know it hurts my mother more.'

'He's not just a 60-year-old man, he was my child,' said Harvey's mother. 'As long as I'm living, he's my child.'

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