A man brought into police headquarters in Savannah, Ga., for questioning committed suicide when he was left alone in an interview room, the department says. It was reported this week that five officers have since been fired, per ABC News. William Harvey, 60, was to be questioned April 3 in an aggravated assault investigation, but officers left the room and then returned to find him hanged, reportedly by his shoelaces. Officers attempted life-saving measures but he did not survive, the Savannah Morning News reports. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation ultimately ruled the death a suicide. Surveillance cameras in the room were not turned on, so there is no footage of what happened, WSAV reports.
An initial probe into the four officers involved ended with a corporal and a sergeant fired. Then, later in April, "an inappropriate meme/GIF" that mocked Harvey's death was attached to a group chat message between officers related to the death investigation, the department says. A probe into that incident ended with another corporal, another sergeant, and an officer fired. Four of the five appealed, but all the terminations were upheld. "I do not believe that there was malicious intent on the part of the officers involved, but the result was deadly," Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said. Police Chief Roy Minter echoed that: "I don't think any of these officers had any malicious intent in what they did, but they made some poor decisions and didn't follow department policy and procedure." (Read more Savannah stories.)