‘Serious neglect’ is blamed for the death of a man in a bug-infested Georgia jail cell


ATLANTA (AP) — A man who died in a bed bug infested cell In the psychiatric ward of a Georgia prison, he died “of severe neglect,” according to an independent autopsy released Monday by attorneys for his family.

Lashawn Thompson, 35, died in September, three months after being sent to Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.

Public outrage over his death spread last month after his family’s attorney, Michael Harper, released photos of Thompson’s face and body covered in bugs.

“Mr. Thompson was neglected to death,” reads the autopsy report of Dr. Roger A. Mitchell Jr., a former chief medical officer in Washington, DC, who is now a professor and chair of the pathology department at Howard University College of Medicine.

The independent autopsy report lists the cause of death as “Complications from Severe Neglect” with “Untreated Decompensated Schizophrenia” identified as the cause.

A combination of dehydration, rapid weight loss and malnutrition, exacerbated by untreated decompensated schizophrenia, led to a fatal cardiac arrhythmia, the report said.

Because he was not receiving necessary medical attention, adequate food, water, and shelter, his manner of death was homicide, Mitchell wrote.

A previous report from the Fulton County Coroner’s Office found no obvious signs of trauma to Thompson’s body, but did note a “severe bed bug infestation.” It listed his cause of death as “undetermined”.

The new autopsy “confirms that this is one of the most regrettable deaths in custody in American history,” said prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family.

The family’s attorneys and attorneys paid tribute to Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat, who publicly called Thompson’s death “absolutely irresponsible.” Labat, who took office in 2021 and has long campaigned for a new prison, said Thompson’s death showed the current prison could not provide “safe and humane detention”.

He said in a statement Monday that he had not had an opportunity to fully review the independent autopsy report, but that even before it was published it was “painfully clear that there were a number of errors that led to Mr. Thompson’s tragic death. “

He said he’s already held executives accountable by asking and receiving Resignation of three top employees. And he said there could be consequences for anyone found to be negligent once the entire investigation is turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“I remain committed to ensuring that the Thompson family gets the answers they need and deserve about the irresponsible circumstances surrounding Mr. Thompson’s death,” Labat said.

The family’s attorneys and attorneys also called on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to take responsibility and act quickly to resolve the problems at the prison, and urged prosecutors to file criminal charges related to Thompson’s death. They also called on Gov. Brian Kemp to address the “mental health crisis” in the state.

Thompson had lost 32 pounds, or about 18% of his body weight, during his three months in the Fulton County jail and was showing signs of dehydration, the report said. In addition to “countless insects” all over his body, his hands, feet, fingernails and toenails were said to be dirty.

Medical records from the prison show that Thompson received his last dose of the medication he was prescribed for his mental health problems 32 days before his death, the report said.

“Mr. “Thompson was completely dependent on his caregivers to provide both the day-to-day care and life-saving acute care needed to save him from developing untreated decompensated schizophrenia,” the report reads.

The independent autopsy was funded by the Know Your Rights Camp Autopsy Initiative Initiative of former NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick.

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