The Tulsa Police Department on Saturday released body camera footage showing a 25-year-old man being tased by officers last month during an encounter inside a downtown bank. Three days after the altercation, the man died in a local hospital.
The video shows Joshua Harvey’s interaction with officers the morning of Aug. 24 at Arvest Bank, 502 S. Main Street. After Harvey apparently broke a glass door and entered the building, the video shows officers use multiple rounds of electricity on the man, who died Aug. 27 at St. John Medical Center.
The department says it is waiting for the state Medical Examiner’s Office report to determine the cause and manner of Harvey’s death, according to a statement issued online Saturday.
Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, a lawyer retained by Harvey’s family, said the release of video Saturday was the first time the department publicly acknowledged Harvey’s death.
“At this point we just want to know exactly what happened between Joshua and the TPD officers, and call on TPD to be forthcoming and transparent during this process,” Solomon-Simmons said in a statement he issued Friday evening. “In the meantime, I ask for prayer for Joshua’s family as they prepare for his funeral services … .” Harvey’s funeral was Saturday.
Harvey was from Haskell, Solomon-Simmons said.
Police were notified of Harvey’s death on Aug. 27, according to a statement released by TPD.
Police said Chief Chuck Jordan elected to release the video and audio “in an effort to collaborate and show transparency.”
In the video, officers first encounter Harvey in the street. Police responded to the scene after receiving numerous calls of a man in the street screaming and removing his clothes, according to the TPD statement.
The video shows police attempting to handcuff Harvey, but he is seen running in the direction of the bank.
“He hasn’t done anything yet, he’s just acting crazy,” one officer says to another.
Officers then approach the bank as Harvey is seen yanking on the handle of a glass door, which shatters after he pulls it a few times. He then runs into the bank, at which point the officers begin to run toward the building.
“S--t, all right, we’re going to tase him,” one of them says.
Two officers appear to deploy their Tasers at Harvey’s back as he attempts to enter a second set of glass doors into the bank’s main lobby. After Harvey landed on his back, the officers continually command him to roll over and put his hands behind his back.
Harvey initially tries to get back up and then swings his arms around. Officers continue to use electricity on him.
In just over two minutes, officers tased Harvey numerous times. Near the end of the video, an officer is heard saying, "How many times did we hit him, like 10 frickin’ times?”
Later in the video, an officer is heard saying that he doesn’t believe one of his metal Taser leads entered Harvey’s body.
“We’ll have to tell them how we’re not sure which Taser was working so we were both doing it,” the officer says.
A TPD statement indicates that two officers used Tasers.
Throughout much of the time that officers deploy electricity, Harvey is heard screaming incoherently. At one point, he yells “go harder” multiple times as officers deploy their Tasers.
“There’s no way we got him without the Taser,” an officer says at the scene. “We would have been wrestling him for an hour.”
Police later describe Harvey as being difficult to subdue, saying “his strength was matching the strength of the four officers.”
About three minutes after the man was first tased, officers successfully cuffed his hands behind his back as he lied face-down on the floor.
“All right, let’s call EMSA,” one of them says before referencing PCP multiple times. “He’s obviously on something.”
Harvey’s face appears to be bleeding throughout the video. In a statement, TPD reported that Harvey was “instantly covered in his own blood from the shattered door.“
About nine minutes after an officer first mentions EMSA, an officer alerts the other officers that emergency personnel are outside the bank. About three minutes after that, the man is placed on a gurney.
For much of the time that Harvey is in handcuffs on the ground, he screams various words and phrases, including “help,” “no” and “Jesus.”
At one point, Harvey pleads with officers to take the Taser leads out of his body, but they refuse. A few minutes later, the man asks again.
“Take the Tasers off. Take ‘em off,” Harvey says. “I’m dying. He’s about to kill me.”
About 18 minutes into the video, 15 minutes after Harvey is first tased, he begins groaning but no longer forms coherent words. A groan is heard at the 20-minute mark, and then no further sounds can be heard on the recording.
Around that time, officers begin commenting on whether Harvey is breathing. Multiple times, an officer asks if he is breathing and another officer says that he is.
“His eyes are in the back of his head,” one officer says near the end of the video as Harvey lies on the gurney.
Harvey never regained consciousness in the hospital, Solomon-Simmons said in the statement.