William Harvey’s family files lawsuit against City of Savannah after in-custody death

Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:20 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:13 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s been nearly two years since William Harvey died in a Savannah Police interrogation room.

Two Savannah Police Officers were fired after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation ruled Harvey’s death a suicide.

As of Tuesday Harvey’s family is accusing the department of neglect, and the city of not keeping their promise of transparency.

Over the last two years, we’ve heard repeated concerns from the family’s attorney over how Harvey died and the investigation that followed.

William Harvey’s mother says no amount of money will heal the wound of losing her son while being interrogated at the Savannah Police Department. Family lawyers say they’re suing the city of Savannah for $12 million as there are still several questions to be answered in this case.

“To hear how my child died from neglect, it tears me apart.”

Lawyers representing William “Zach” Harvey say during his questioning in April of 2021, he repeatedly warned Savannah Police Officers of his mental health.

“He was paranoid, schizophrenic and bipolar.”

Lawyers with Davis Bozeman and Johnson Law say their federal lawsuit details how Harvey told police he would rather kill himself then go to jail but police left him alone and cameras were inactive.

Lawyer Harold Spence says they are suing the city for American Disability Act and civil rights violations, deliberate neglect, and for violating the Savannah Police Department’s own requirements listed in their policies.

“The City of Savannah should have turned on a camera to record what was going on there and to monitor it. There should have been an investigator in another room monitoring what was going on while Mr. Harvey was being interviewed and Mr. Harvey should have never been left alone in the interview room,” Harold Spence said.

Lawyers served the city a letter 30 days ago saying the family would sue if not granted $12 million for the damage that’s been done. Mayor Van Johnson says they don’t comment on pending litigation.

“It’s not unexpected. We’ve been served and we will respond.”

Regarding any possible criminal charges, Harvey’s family lawyers say the case is in the hands of the District Attorney’s Office.