SAVANNAH, GA (June 14, 2021) – Savannah Police Department’s Professional Standards Unit has closed two investigations surrounding the April 3 death of William Harvey while in police custody.
On April 3 SPD requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to investigate the death of William Harvey, 60, who had been transported to police headquarters for questioning in an aggravated assault investigation. Harvey died while alone in an interview room. Upon discovery of Harvey, officers attempted life-saving measures; however, officers were unable to revive him. All officers connected to the incident were placed on administrative leave. The GBI later ruled the death a suicide.
Along with the GBI’s investigation, SPD Professional Standards Unit began an investigation of the four officers involved, focused on SPD policies and procedures.
At the conclusion of the SPD investigation, two department members were terminated, and one was suspended. Another officer was terminated for a previous incident that was not related to the Harvey investigation.
Cpl. Silver Leuschner was sustained on the following department violations by a disciplinary review board: criminal investigation policy, employee responsibility, oath of office ethics and conduct, and video/audio recording equipment. Cpl. Leuschner was terminated at the conclusion of the investigation.
Sgt. Michael Kerr was sustained on a violation of supervisory responsibility by a disciplinary review board. He was terminated at the conclusion of the investigation.
Officer Matthew White was sustained on a violation of employee responsibility and oath of office ethics and conduct by a disciplinary review board. Officer White received a suspension at the conclusion of the investigation.
Officer Rodheem Greene was terminated as the result of a previous investigation that was not connected to the Harvey investigation.
In late April, the Professional Standards Unit began a second investigation stemming from a group chat message sent by one officer to a group of other officers. The message referred to the in-custody death investigation and had an inappropriate meme/GIF attached. Two supervisors and one officer were placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
At the conclusion of the investigation, all three department members were terminated.
Sgt. Christopher Hewett was sustained on a violation of supervisory responsibility by a disciplinary review board.
Cpl. Erica Tremblay was sustained on a violation of supervisory responsibility, insubordination, and office of professional standards by a disciplinary review board.
Officer David Curtis was sustained for the following violations by a disciplinary review board: conduct unbecoming of an officer, insubordination, treatment of others, truthfulness/honesty, and office of professional standards.
All the terminated officers from both cases, except for Curtis, appealed the terminations to the chief and city manager. All the terminations were upheld.