According to officials, 35-year-old LaShawn Thompson was apprehended in Atlanta for a misdemeanor battery charge last year. He was then taken to Fulton County Jail, where he was placed in the psychiatric wing after being diagnosed with a mental illness. The Medical Examiner’s report states that Thompson was discovered unresponsive in his cell and despite multiple attempts by medical personnel to save his life, Thompson was pronounced dead.
Although the coroner found no visible signs of injury, Thompson was discovered with bed bugs on his body. The report further highlights the existence of a “severe bed bug infestation” in the psychiatric ward.
“Mr. Thompson was found dead in a filthy jail cell after being eaten alive by insects and bed bugs,” his family’s lawyer, Michael D. Harper, said. “We’re asking for a criminal investigation into the matter and (major) changes at the jail. They literally watched his health decline until he died. When his body was found one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because in her words she ‘freaked out.’ The jail cell Mr. Thompson was housed in was not fit for a diseased animal. He did not deserve this.”
Nevertheless, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office says the jail is approving an additional $500,000 expenditure to combat the infestation of bed bugs, lice, and other vermin within the facility and updating sanitary protocols.
“It’s no secret that the dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions of the current facility make it incredibly difficult to meet the goal of providing a clean, well-maintained and healthy environment for all inmates and staff,” the office said. “That is precisely why Sheriff Labat continues to call building a new Fulton County Jail and Criminal Justice Complex which will provide an elite level of care, mental health services, security and cleanliness.”