The family of a 35-year-old man is seeking answers after he was found dead in an Atlanta jail, with a lawyer saying he was “eaten alive by insects and bed bugs.”
Speaking with USA Today, Georgia lawyer Michael D. Harper—who’s representing the family of LaShawn Thompson—said the death calls for an extensive investigation and an overhaul of the Fulton County facility.
“Mr. Thompson was found dead in a filthy jail cell after being eaten alive by insects and bed bugs,” Harper told the publication.
Per a Fulton County Medical Examiner’s report cited in the piece, Thompson was found “unresponsive” in his cell last September and ultimately pronounced dead. Earlier that year, Thompson—who was mentally ill—had been arrested in connection with a misdemeanor simple battery case. According to the coroner, Thompson’s body was covered in bugs; additionally, the cell itself had a “severe” infestation. The cause of death was “undetermined,” the report noted.
Complex has reached out to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Harper for comment. This story may be updated.
Meanwhile, a Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has shared an extended statement with local outlet WSB-TV. In it, a rep claimed that a “full investigation” was ordered following Thompson’s death. The rep further claimed the launching of this investigation was followed by “immediate action,” including spending money on bed bug and lice infestation response measures.
As for the possibility of criminal charges, that was also addressed in the rep’s statement, as follows: “The ongoing investigation is examining details regarding the medical care provided and ultimately will determine whether any criminal charges are warranted in this case.”
Both the controversy surrounding Thompson’s death and the larger criticism surrounding jail conditions in Fulton County have continued to grow in recent days, with many taking to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office social media presences to call for greater attention on the case. In response, the department has repeatedly offered a stock statement.