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Georgia Jail Death Called Homicide

Before dying of complications stemming from severe neglect, Lashawn Thompson had been living in conditions at the Fulton County, Ga., jail akin to a “torture chamber," the man's family lawyers told CNN. They commissioned an independent medical review that determined Thompson’s manner of death at the Fulton County Jail in September 2022 was a homicide. The review showed a lack of medication in Thompson’s bloodstream, indicating his “severe mental illness” was not being medically treated at the time of his death, attorney Ben Crump said. “(Thompson) had untreated schizophrenia at the time of his death,” Crump said. “There is no question this was criminal negligence.” Thompson, 35, died last year while in custody on a misdemeanor assault charge and was housed in the psychiatric wing of the jail because of his mental health issues. He had been in custody for just three months when he died.

The Fulton County medical examiner’s office listed Thompson’s manner and cause of death as undetermined, and listed schizoaffective disorder, bipolar and acute exacerbation as “other conditions.” However, the independent medical review listed “untreated decompensated schizophrenia” as a contributing cause to the death, in addition to dehydration, malnutrition, and severe body insect infestation, which included lice and bed bugs, as “significant conditions.” The review was conducted by Dr. Roger Mitchell Jr., a board-certified forensic pathologist and chair of pathology at Howard University, who was previously the chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C. “Had Mr. Thompson received adequate care during his incarceration at the Fulton County Jail then he would not have died at the time that he did,” Mitchell said. Fulton County Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat has not yet had a chance to fully review the independent autopsy report, but acknowledged the number of failures that led to Thompson's death and called for the resignation of Fulton County Jail’s chief jailer and two assistant chief jailers. The sheriff’s office also allotted a $500,000 emergency expense “to address the infestation of bed bugs, lice, and other vermin” within the jail, the agency said last month.


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