The family of Lashawn Thompson is seeking a criminal investigation after he died in Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail. They claim Lashawn was “eaten alive by insects and bed bugs.”
The family’s attorney, Michael Harper, explained the situation in a statement released on social media.
Last year, police arrested Thompson on June 12 on a simple misdemeanor battery charge. Authorities reportedly placed Lashawn in the jail’s psychiatric wing for unspecified mental health issues.
Within three months, Harper says, Lashawn “was found dead in a filthy jail cell after being eaten alive by insects and bed bugs.”
Photos Show Lashawn Thompson’s Bug-Ridden Body And ‘Filthy Jail Cell’
Harper also published graphic photos of Lashawn with what appears to be bugs all over his face and inside his mouth. In another shot, black and brown specks cover Thompson’s torso, neck, and thin arms. His stomach appears sunken with wrinkled skin and a darker hue.
“The family-approved photographs attached to this release show that the jail cell Mr. Thompson was housed in was not fit for a diseased animal. He did not deserve this,” Harper’s statement said.
Two additional images show the jail cell’s condition, which looks like a scene from an abandoned site. Rust and chipped paint covered the bed frame and desk in the cell. Dirt and grime cover the mattress-less frame and desk cubby holes. Meanwhile, the floor appears filthy–covered in dark-colored blotches, pieces of paper, a sandal, and some clothes.
The toilet seat is covered in more grime–unclear if it’s feces-based, but the bowl water also had brown and tan residue. A filthy mattress with a white tarp-looking spread was placed near the cell’s entrance. The floor near the toilet, sink, and bed also appears dingy–disguising the floor’s grayish color as dark brown.
TRIGGER WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS AHEAD
Family Attorney Says Jail Staff ‘Did Nothing’ To Help Lashawn Thompson
Family lawyer Harper also revealed that jail records show staff were privy to Thompson’s ‘deteriorating’ condition but failed to act.
Harper’s statement said:
“Jail records obtained via GA Open Records Requests establish that the detention offices and medical staff at the Jail noticed that Mr. Thompson was deteriorating but did nothing to administer aid to him or to help him. They literally watched his health decline until he died.”
When the detention officers found Thompson’s body, Harper says, one of them “refused to administer CPR.” The officer reportedly said she “freaked out.”
Last September, the Fulton County Commission agreed to renew a $27 million contract for “physical and mental health services for inmates,” per CBS Atlanta. But, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat asked for an additional $6 million to address employee retention, overtime, and overcrowding issues.
At the time, Sheriff Labat revealed the Fulton County Jail had 3,600 inmates. The population had increased by 1,400 over the last two years. Of the 3,600, 428 inmates were reportedly sleeping on the floor. He also revealed that detention officers find hundreds of weapons in the jail daily and handle frequent inmate stabbings.
“You have 3,500-plus points of data that show the dangers of where we are and the crisis that we’re in,” Sheriff Labat said.
According to Harper, Thompson’s family wants “someone” to be “held accountable” for their relative’s death.
“The Fulton County Jail must be closed and replaced,” Harper’s statement said.