The family of LaShawn Thompson, a 35-year-old man from Georgia, is calling for a criminal investigation into his death after he died in a filthy cell at the psychiatric wing of Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.
Mr. Thompson had been arrested for simple battery on June 12, 2022, and had not yet been convicted. He was sent to the facility on September 13, where officials established he had mental issues.
According to the family's attorney, Michael D. Harper, Mr. Thompson was "eaten alive by bed bugs" in an incident that Harper described as one of the most "inhumane" he had ever encountered.
Open medical records showed that detention officers and medical staff at the jail noticed Thompson's deteriorating condition but did not take the necessary steps to help him.
Mr. Harper recounted to Atlanta News First what he had heard from one of the facility employees: “The scene was so horrific that the detention officer said she would not even administer CPR when they found him because she was, in her words, freaked out by the scene.”
The Southern Center for Human Rights reported that there have been "outbreaks of scabies and lice" at Fulton County Jail and described it as "dangerously understaffed and overcrowded."
Records from the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office indicated there were no signs of trauma on Mr. Thompson's body, and his death was listed as "undetermined," but noted a "severe bed bug infestation."
The Fulton County Sheriff's Office in Atlanta has launched a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Thompson's death and has approved an additional expenditure of $500,000 to address the infestation of bed bugs, lice, and other vermin within the jail, per Blaze Media.
The family and their attorney are calling for the facility to be shut down, expressing that the cells where inmates are held are "horrible and not fit for a diseased animal."