Lashawn Thompson, a 35–year–old Atlanta resident, was arrested on June 12, 2022 for a misdemeanor simple battery charge. He was sent to Fulton County Jail and placed in the psychiatric wing due to mental health issues. On September 19, he was found dead in a filthy jail cell. His family claims he was “eaten alive” by bed bugs.
In response to the family’s claim, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) said it will launch “a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding [Thompson’s] death.” After the internal investigation is complete, the Sheriff will ask the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to determine whether any criminal charges are warranted in Thompson’s death.
Michael Harper, the attorney for Thompson’s family, said in a statement on Facebook that jail records show that officials at the facility, as well as medical staff, “noticed that Mr. Thompson was deteriorating, but did nothing to administer aid to him or to help him.” He also claimed that one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because she “freaked out.”
The FCSO has announced that it will be taking multiple steps to improve the jail conditions even before the investigation into Thompson’s death is complete. These steps include approving an additional $500,000 to address the infestation of bed bugs, lice, and other vermin in the jail; updating protocols for security rounds; adding additional staff for the mental health unit; and transferring more than 600 inmates to other jails to reduce overcrowding.
The death of Lashawn Thompson has sparked outrage and calls for accountability. His family is demanding justice for what they believe is a preventable death. They are asking for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death, and they want those responsible to be held accountable.
The FCSO is taking steps to improve the jail conditions and is conducting a full investigation into Thompson’s death. It remains to be seen whether the investigation will uncover any criminal wrongdoing. In the meantime, Thompson’s family is mourning the loss of a life that could have been saved.