LaShawn Thompson, 35, was pronounced dead in 2022 after succumbing to filthy, bug-infested conditions while incarcerated in Fulton County Jail in Georgia. A year later, his family is fighting for answers and demanding a criminal investigation into his death, PEOPLE reports.
Attorney Michael D. Harper, who represents Thompson’s family, says the Georgia native was found unconscious in his cell on Sept. 19, 2022, after being “eaten alive by bugs.” Harper also blames the unsanitary conditions at Fulton County Jail as the reason for her death.
At a press conference Thursday, April 13, graphic photos of Thompson’s deceased body were shown, to which his brother, Brad McCrae, compared what he had seen with photos of Emmett Till’s body a while ago. decades.
“It was heartbreaking because no one should be seen like this,” McCrae said, CNN reports. “No one should see this. But the first thing that came to mind was Emmett Till.
Thompson’s family want “someone held accountable for his death” and are asking that Fulton County Jail, the same facility that holds Young Thug on RICO charges, be “closed and replaced.”
“The jail cell in which Mr. Thompson was housed was not fit for a sick animal,” Harper said in a statement April 12. “He didn’t deserve this.”
By statement, Thompson was arrested on June 12, 2022, for misdemeanor battery, and was later placed in the psychiatric unit. Authorities reportedly determined that he suffered from “unspecified” mental illness. According to reports, deterioration was visible on Thompson’s body by officers and medical personnel, but no one investigated further to see what was going on with his health.
“They literally watched his health decline until he died,” Harper said. “When her body was found, one of the detention officers refused to perform CPR because, in her own words, she had ‘freaked out’.
According to the Fulton County Medical Examiner, Thompson’s body had no visible signs of trauma, leading officials to declare his death undetermined. Elsewhere in reports, his body was “covered in bed bugs” when discovered and an official date of death was “unknown”.
Documents also reportedly said that “the medical and social history of the deceased is unknown”.
According PEOPLEFulton County Sheriff’s Office said, “Due to HIPPA statutes and regulations, we are unable to share information about Mr. Thompson’s medical condition at the time of his arrest or any decisions he has taken regarding his right to accept or refuse medical treatment.
However, the sheriff’s office acknowledged the “dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions” of the jail and said Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat would fully investigate the circumstances that may be responsible for Thompson’s death.
Jail officials also said they were taking “immediate action” that would include: spending $500,000 to focus on the vermin infestation; protocols for circle checks, hiring additional staff specifically for the mental health unit, and addressing overcrowding at the facility by transferring inmates to other counties.
“Without making any explicit statements about Mr. Thompson’s health, it is fair to say that this is one of many cases that illustrate the desperate need for expanded and improved mental health services,” the statement read. from the sheriff’s office.
Apparently, an internal investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations will find answers that will determine whether criminal activity took place in the Fulton County Jail’s name.