Black Man Found Dead In Jail Cell Was 'Eaten Alive' By Bugs, Family Says

Photo: Getty Images

A 35-year-old man was "eaten alive by insects and bed bugs" before he was found dead in a jail cell in Atlanta, Georgia, his family's attorney said.

Lashawn Thompson, 35, was found unresponsive in his cell at Fulton County Jail in September 2022. Thompson was covered in lesions from a "severe bed bug infestation," according to records. His cell was so filthy that a jail staffer wore a hazmat suit upon entering, the Washington Post reports.

“When his body was found one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because in her words she ‘freaked out,’” Michael Harper, the family's lawyer, said in a statement on Wednesday (April 12).

Thomas was initially arrested in June 2022 for misdemeanor simple battery. He was placed in the psychiatric wing of the jail due to his mental health issues, according to Harper.

Graphic photos released last week show Thompson covered in pockmarked lesions and dead bugs stuck to his face. According to jail records, his cause of death was undetermined by a medical examiner.

Warning: Graphic

Thompson's family is demanding the jail be closed and a criminal investigation into his death.

On Friday (April 14), the Fulton County Sheriff's Office said it had launched an investigation and approved an extra $500,000 in funding “to address the infestation of bed bugs, lice and other vermin within Fulton County Jail.”

“The health, well-being, and security of our inmates in our care is our top priority,” the sheriff's office said in a statement. “It’s no secret that the dilapidated and rapidly eroding conditions of the current facility make it incredibly difficult to meet the goal of providing a safe, clean, well-maintained, and healthy environment for all inmates and staff.”

Brad McCrae, Thompson’s brother, said that his sibling “didn’t deserve this.”

“It was heartbreaking because nobody should be seen like that,” McCrae said in a press conference on Thursday (April 13). “Nobody should see that.”

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