A Georgia sheriff's office has dismissed nine deputies following an investigation into the death of a mentally ill man who died in an isolation cell earlier this year.
NBC News reports that Mathew Ajibade, 22, was taken into custody by deputies with the Chatham County Sheriff's Office after he reportedly struck his girlfriend and broke a deputy's nose while experiencing a bipolar episode on New Year's Day. NBC News adds that Ajibade's episode is what prompted his girlfriend to call 911:
The girlfriend had been struck and had blood on her cheek when Chatham County police arrived, a source said.
Instead of taking Ajibade to the hospital for mental health treatment, they arrested him and booked him in jail. What role, exactly, the deputies played in Ajibade's death has not been made public; both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Affairs Division of the Sheriff's Office are doing separate reviews.
Ajibade's death resulted in a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe which alleged that he started fighting with deputies while in custody. However, on Friday, the Chatham County Sheriff's Office announced that nine deputies had been terminated:
Simultaneously with the release of this statement, the Sheriff is releasing the personnel files and termination letters of the first nine individuals named above. As both the Internal Affairs and GBI reports are currently in the hands of the District Attorney for her independent review to take action as she deems appropriate, the Sheriff is not releasing those reports.
WTOC notes that two other officers involved with Ajibade's death were fired earlier this year for unrelated policy violations. Per NBC News, Ajibade's family has hired attorney Mark O'Mara, and the findings of the investigation will be presented to a grand jury next month.