A Savannah Police officer and two supervisors are on administrative leave after one shared an “inappropriate meme” in a group text message with co-workers, the SPD said in a statement. The department’s internal affairs division is investigating.

60-year-old William Harvey

William Harvey, 60, died in a Savannah Police Department interrogation room.

Credit: Davis Bozeman Johnson Law Firm

Lawyers for the family of a man who died by hanging earlier this month in an SPD interrogation room said Thursday that the meme depicts a hanging.

“This department takes the actions in this incident seriously and is completely intolerant of insensitivity among its staff,” Chief Roy Minter said in the statement. 

An officer, a corporal and a sergeant are on leave pending the investigation.

Attorney Francys Johnson called the incident “inflammatory and intolerable.”

“This is a mess,” he said. "And the Savannah Police Department needs to clean itself up if it expects to have any confidence of the citizens of Savannah and the surrounding area."

A preliminary report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said 60-year-old William Harvey died by suicide. But his family and their lawyers question that finding and continue to call for a thorough and transparent investigation.

Harvey died April 3 in SPD custody.

The family’s lawyers have called for an autopsy as well as the release of any video of the incident. They have questioned why he was left alone in an interrogation room.

Johnson said Thursday that he’d met with GBI Director Vic Reynolds about the case, but that Harvey’s family has not yet met with the investigators handling the case.