Fulton County Jail has been accused of mistreating inmates yet again, this time leading to the death of a 35-year-old man. Lashawn Thompson was arrested in June of 2022 for a misdemeanor charge and placed in the psychiatric wing of the Atlanta, Georgia prison due to his mental health issues.
Three months later, Thompson was found dead in his cell, “eaten alive” by bed bugs and other insects. His family is now requesting a criminal investigation into his death and has released graphic images of his body covered in bites and of his filthy cell that they say was not “fit for a diseased animal.”
“He did not deserve this. Someone has to be held accountable for his death,” family attorney Michael Harper said in a statement.
The death of Thompson is the latest in a string of mistreatment allegations against the Fulton County Jail. Last year, Sheriff Patrick Labat spoke out about overcrowding and a lack of funding for the prison. He said there were 3,600 inmates after 1,400 had been added in the previous two years and that 428 inmates were sleeping on the floor because there weren’t enough beds.
“You have 3,500-plus points of data that show the dangers of where we are and the crisis that we’re in,” Labat said at the time.
After Labat spoke, the Fulton County Commission renewed a $27 million contract for physical and mental health services for inmates at the jail. Labat also requested an additional $6 million for additional issues, including employee retention and overtime.
The Thompson family is now hoping that their loved one’s death will bring about some much-needed change at the jail. They are calling for a criminal investigation into his death and for someone to be held accountable.
Until then, the Fulton County Jail continues to be plagued with mistreatment allegations, and the Thompson family is left searching for answers.