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Richmond County Sheriff's Office identifies deputies involved in stun-gun death

Tuesday, July 2, 2013 4:57 PM
Last updated Wednesday, July 3, 2013 1:29 AM
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The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of three officers who are on administrative leave after the stun gun-related death of an Augusta man.

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Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Prizette Presberry and two others will be on leave while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looks into the death of George Kent Harvey.  SPECIAL
Richmond County sheriff's Deputy Prizette Presberry and two others will be on leave while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looks into the death of George Kent Harvey.

Deputies Matthew Sanderson, Prizette Presberry and Chadrick Scott will be on leave while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation looks into the death Friday of George Kent Harvey. The deputies were hired at the sheriff’s office between October 2008 and March 2009.

Police said the officers were trying to apprehend Harvey, 39, at the Chevron Food Mart, 1501 Gordon Highway, when they used the newly issued weapon.

Deputy Coroner Kenneth Boose said Harvey went into cardiac arrest after an officer tried to subdue him. He died at 10:47 p.m. at Georgia Regents Medical Center.

Deputies were issued the alternative weapon for the first time in March after a month of training. “Use of Force” reports indicated deputies have used the Tasers 60 times through June.

According to a 2010 research report funded by the National Institute of Justice, death by conducted energy devices, or stun guns, is relatively rare.

The researchers discovered an earlier study analyzing 37 such deaths. Autopsy results showed that 54 percent of the victims had cardiovascular disease, 78 percent were under the influence of drugs and 75 percent were diagnosed with excited delirium.

Excited delirium is defined as a syndrome characterized by psychosis and agitation. It is associated with combativeness and elevated body temperature. The unstable condition carries a high mortality risk even in the absence of being subdued.

The devices were ruled as a possible cause of death in six cases and a contributing factor in four.

Injuries from the devices in general are uncommon. In a study of about 960 suspects, 99.7 percent were uninjured or mildly injured and 0.3 percent were moderately or severely injured.

Coroner Grover Tuten said an autopsy on Harvey was performed Monday but results are not available.

The GBI Crime Lab in Atlanta has requested Harvey’s medical records as its part of the investigation continues.

Harvey had a history of arrests related to cocaine, marijuana and controlled substances; and an open container and driving under the influence arrest in December. The coroner has not indicated whether drug use could have been a contributing factor in the death.

Toxicology and histology results are also pending. Results could take up to 12 weeks.

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Pops 07/02/13 - 07:11 pm
Move along folks

nothing to see here.........more air for law abiding citizens to breathe....

myfather15 07/02/13 - 10:30 pm
Please don't tell specsta or thauch about these "studies"

They prefer to use studies conducted by a fellow named Zipes, who currently gets paid $1,200.00 an HOUR to condemn and testify against taser usage!!

Now, I don't know about you; but $1,200.00 an hour could probably buy a LOT OF PEOPLES testimony and "Research". There are literally MILLIONS of people out here that would LIE for 1200 an hour!!

JENNPAT 07/03/13 - 05:01 am
why was a stun gun

used on this man? and if the law said it could be used if needed why is there a big ? about it being used was he robbing the store or what? and why did it take three men to arrest him? ?????mark alots of them

daviddunagan 07/03/13 - 08:21 am
These are the type of people that police deal with daily

You only hear about it when things take a turn for the worse. Deputy Sanderson is a fine officer and I'm sure the other two are as well. JENNPAT- It often does take more than one deputy using "less than lethal" force to control a large, doped up, combative, known criminal like this. Thanks to the men and women who put their lives on the line daily in order to keep the rest of us safe. DD

Darby 07/03/13 - 11:51 am
"Tasers 60 times through June."

Folks - Don't know about you, but I'm willing to wait for an investigation report to be published.

If it's done by the GBI, I will accept the results.

Then, based on those results, action may or may not be required.

Fiat_Lux 07/03/13 - 02:20 pm
Sitting on his back with his

With a big guy like that, sitting on his back with his chest and abdomen getting compressed are more likely to have killed him than multiple taser hits.

Positional asphyxia is not all that uncommon. They might have unintentionally and unknowingly cut off his breathing or shut down his circulation via compression of his abdominal aorta or venous return. Now that I would believe.

Tasers simply are not deadly weapons except in a miniscule--MINISCULE-- number of instances. Tear gas is more deadly. Bringing this guy under control with a gun most assuredly would have been deadly. I opt for tasers.

Darby 07/03/13 - 05:39 pm
"Bringing this guy under control with

a gun most assuredly would have been deadly. I opt for tasers."

I will agree, conditionally. But only if one, or the other were actually required.

That's why I'm suggesting that we wait for the investigation report.

owensjef3 07/04/13 - 08:48 am
This whole thing has been

This whole thing has been botched by Richmond County.

specsta 07/04/13 - 10:05 pm
Get It Under Control

At this rate, Roundtree is going to be a one-term Sheriff. His deputies are out of control - now there's news about some cops harassing a citizen for videotaping the corner of 4th and Walton (public property) and arresting the guy.

A lethal Taser mishap, citizen harassment, cops wrecking patrol cars - this is not good news. I like the new Sheriff - but the buck stops at his desk. He needs to have a little chat with his underlings.

Fiat_Lux 07/05/13 - 12:02 am
At Specta

That guy filming near the jail was an idiot, and the deputies were not out of line in the least. He refused to give them any information about himself or what he was doing, which meant they had to go find that out on their own instead.

They didn't hold him longer that legally allowed concerning a person of interest, which he certainly was after he acted suspiciously and was passive agressive with them. They didn't charge him with a crime or cite him for anything after checking him out, and they didn't hurt him in any way. He just got to cool his heels in a holding cell for half a day as a result being a stupid jackass.

He made them do that, all by himself.

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