The family of a man who died in his jail cell from bed bugs in 2022 is speaking out about the horrific and gut-wrenching incident.
Family of Jailed Atlanta Man Suing Fulton County
After their loved one passed away in a prison cell plagued by bedbugs last year, the family is urging for a criminal inquiry into his death and the shutdown and replacement of the detention center in Georgia.
According to a statement issued by the Harper Law Firm, the legal representative of LaShawn Johnson’s family in Atlanta, the 35-year-old prisoner was discovered lifeless in his “unsanitary” cell on September 19, 2022. Johnson’s attorney alleged that the inmate had been “devoured by bugs,” and attributed his demise to the poor hygiene conditions in the Fulton County Jail.
“The jail cell Mr. Thompson was housed in, was not fit for a diseased animal,” lawyer, Michael D. Harper, said in the statement dated April 12. “He did not deserve this.”
Jail Attendants Noticed Thompson Deteriorating
Per the statement, after being detained for a misdemeanor simple battery charge on June 12, 2022, Thompson was admitted to the psychiatric ward of the correctional facility due to his alleged mental health problems.
Citing jail records, the attorney said that officers and medical staff at the jail noticed Thompson was deteriorating, but did nothing to help him.
“They literally watched his health decline until he died,” Harper said. “When his body was found one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because in her words she “freaked out.”
According to a Fulton County Medical Examiner’s report there were no obvious signs of trauma found on Thompson’s body and his cause of death was listed as undetermined.
Body Was Covered in Bed Bugs
The report goes on to state how Thompson’s body was “covered in bed bugs” and it was “unknown the last time the decedent was seen.”
Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said, “Due to HIPPA statutes and regulations we are not able to share any information about what Mr. Thompson’s health condition was upon being arrested or what decisions he made regarding his right to accept or refuse medical care.”
The sheriff’s office acknowledged the “dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions” of the facility, and said Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat was launching a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Thompson’s death.
In the meantime, the sheriff said officials were taking “immediate actions” in the jail including, spending $500,000 to address the infestation of bed bugs, lice and other vermin, updating protocols for security rounds, adding additional staff members to the mental health unit, and transferring more than 600 inmates to other counties in an effort to help relieve overcrowding.
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