The family of a man who died in a Georgia jail cell says he was eaten alive by bugs, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
“The cell in which he was kept was not suitable for an animal with a serious disease.” Michael Harper, the family lawyer, said that this was deplorable.
The Post, citing an autopsy, reported that Lashawn Thomson, 35, had been found dead in his jail cell in September 2022, with an “extremely serious” infestation of tiny insects all over his body. He was in custody at the Fulton County Jail’s psychiatric unit for three months, on a misdemeanor charge of battery.
According to a document obtained by CNN, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said that Thompson’s cause and manner of death are not known. The report listed “other conditions,” including “schizoaffective disorders, bipolar disorder, and acute exacerbation.”
Harper claims that Thompson was in good health when he was arrested.
Harper stated that it was unacceptable to leave a mentally-ill prisoner alone to die in jail.
It is impossible that this man would be monitored every two hours. It was as if he hadn’t been monitored in months.
The Post obtained a photo of a cell with lice. It shows a filthy floor, littered with trash and what looks like a rusted metal desk and “bed”. The officials who went to check him out wore safety suits, according to reports.
It was heartbreaking because no one should have seen that. Brad McCrae, Thompson’s older brother, said that Thompson’s face was covered in bugs.
According to a statement obtained by WSB-TV, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office which operates the jail has launched a “full inquiry”. The statement offers condolences for Thompson’s death to his family.
The statement continues to describe the actions FCSO will take to improve conditions. Spending $500,000 on “bed bugs, louse, and other vermin” and updating security rounds are among the immediate actions.
The statement said that it was “no secret” that the conditions in the jail were dilapidated and that they are rapidly deteriorating. This makes it difficult to provide a healthy, clean, and well-maintained environment for both staff and inmates.
The family wants an investigation into Thompson’s death, and the Fulton County Jail closed and replaced.
Below, you can watch a video of a Thompson family press conference.