UNITED STATES NEWS

Autopsy finds ‘severe neglect’ to blame for man’s death in bedbug-infested Georgia jail cell

May 22, 2023, 11:24 AM | Updated: 6:02 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — A man who died in a bedbug-infested cell in a Georgia jail’s psychiatric wing “died due to severe neglect,” according to an independent autopsy released Monday by lawyers for his family.

Lashawn Thompson, 35, died in September, three months after he was booked into the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Public outrage over his death spread last month after a lawyer for his family, Michael Harper, released photos of Thompson’s face and body covered in insects.

“Mr. Thompson was neglected to death,” says the autopsy report written by Dr. Roger A. Mitchell Jr., a former chief medical examiner in Washington, D.C., 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 due to Severe Neglect,” with “Untreated Decompensated Schizophrenia” identified as a contributing cause.

A combination of dehydration, rapid weight loss and malnutrition, complicated by untreated decompensated schizophrenia led to a fatal cardiac arrythmia, the report says. Because he did not receive necessary medical care or adequate food, water and shelter, his manner of death is homicide, Mitchell wrote.

An earlier report from the Fulton County medical examiner’s office found no obvious signs of trauma on Thompson’s body but noted a “severe bed bug infestation.” It lists his cause of death as “undetermined.”

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

The family’s lawyers and advocates gave credit to Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat, who has publicly called Thompson’s death “absolutely unconscionable.” Labat, who took office in 2021 and has long advocated for a new jail, has said Thompson’s death shows that the current jail cannot provide “safe and humane detention.”

He said in a statement Monday that he hadn’t had a chance to fully review the independent autopsy report but that even before it was issued, “it was painfully clear there were a number of failures that led to Mr. Thompson’s tragic death.”

He said he had already held executive staff responsible by asking for and receiving the resignations of three top staffers. And he said there could be repercussions for anyone found to be negligent once the full investigation is turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“I remain committed to making sure the Thompson family receives the answers they need and deserve about the unconscionable circumstances surrounding Mr. Thompson’s death,” Labat said.

The family’s lawyers and advocates also called on the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to take responsibility and act quickly to fix the problems at the jail and urged the district attorney’s office to bring criminal charges in Thompson’s death. They also called on Gov. Brian Kemp to address a “mental health crisis” in the state.

Thompson had lost 32 pounds, or about 18% of his body weight, during his three months at the Fulton County Jail and showed evidence of dehydration, the report says. In addition to an “innumerable number of insects” all over his body, his hands, feet, fingernails and toenails were filthy, it says.

Medical records from the jail indicate that Thompson received his last dose of the medications he’d been prescribed for his mental health issues 32 days before his death, the report says.

“Mr. Thompson was completely reliant on his caregivers to provide both day-to-day care as well as the acute life-saving care that was needed to save him from the untreated decompensated schizophrenia,” the report says.

The independent autopsy was paid for by the Autopsy Initiative of the Know Your Rights Camp, an initiative started by former NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick.

United States News

Associated Press

8 shot including 2 men killed at a party with hundreds attending in Memphis park, police say

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Eight people were shot including two men who were killed at an unsanctioned public party in a Memphis city park Saturday night, police said. Officers responded at 7:19 p.m. to a reported shooting, Memphis Police Department Chief Cerelyn Davis said during a news conference at the scene. Two men were pronounced […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Vehicle crashes into building where birthday party held, injuring children and adults, sheriff says

BERLIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A vehicle drove through a boat club building where a children’s birthday celebration was taking place Saturday, seriously injuring a number of children and adults, a Michigan sheriff said in a news release. The victims were taken to several area hospitals after the crash that occurred at about 3 p.m. […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

3 hospitalized after knife attack on party boat in New York City along Brooklyn waterfront

NEW YORK (AP) — A knife attack on a crowded party boat at a New York City pier Saturday resulted in the hospitalization of three people, police said. A 911 call came in around 5 p.m. reporting the assault along the Brooklyn waterfront near 58th Street and the Brooklyn Army Terminal warehouse, NYPD Detective Sophia […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Autoworkers union celebrates breakthrough win in Tennessee and takes aim at more plants in the South

DALLAS (AP) — The United Auto Workers’ overwhelming election victory at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee is giving the union hope that it can make broader inroads in the South, the least unionized part of the country. The UAW won a stunning 73% of the vote at VW after losing elections in 2014 and 2019. […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Conditions improve for students shot in Maryland park on ‘senior skip day’

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — Three of the five youths shot in a suburban Washington, D.C., park during a high school “senior skip day” gathering have been released from the hospital, while the condition of the most seriously injured has improved, authorities said Saturday. Police in Greenbelt, Maryland, are asking the public to share video footage […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

New York lawmakers pass $237 billion budget addressing housing construction and migrants

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers passed a $237 billion state budget Saturday that includes plans to spur housing construction and combat unlicensed marijuana stores. The package also includes a raft of other measures ranging from expediting the closure of some state prisons, addressing the recent influx of migrants, and continuing the pandemic-era policy […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Autopsy finds ‘severe neglect’ to blame for man’s death in bedbug-infested Georgia jail cell