Sheriff Responds To Family’s Claim Loved One Was ‘Eaten Alive’ By Bed Bugs At Atlanta Jail
A general view of Fulton County Jail building during "Masks for the People" Initiative at Fulton County Jail on July 10, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a family’s claim that an Atlanta, Georgia, inmate was “eaten alive’ by bed bugs, saying it was launching “a full investigation” into his death.

Lashawn Thompson, 35, was arrested on June 12, 2022, for a misdemeanor simple battery charge, CBS News reported Thursday. He was sent to Fulton County Jail and placed in the psychiatric wing because he had mental health issues.

Three months later, on September 19, Thompson “was found dead in a filthy jail cell after being eaten alive by insects and bed bugs,” family attorney Michael Harper said in a statement on Facebook (WARNING: disturbing images).

On Friday, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) posted a statement to Twitter saying it would launch “a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding [Thompson’s] death.”

After the internal investigation is complete, the statement said, Sheriff Patrick Labat will ask the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to determine whether any criminal charges are warranted in Thompson’s death.

“The health, well-being, and security of inmates in our care is our top priority,” the statement said. “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 safe, clean, well-maintained, and healthy environment for all inmates and staff. Without making any explicit statements about Mr. Thompson’s health, it’s fair to say that this is one of the many cases that illustrate the desperate need for expanded and better mental health services. That is precisely why Sheriff Labat continues to call [for] building a new Fulton County Jail and Criminal Justice Complex which will provide humane care in a safe and clean environment that offers mental health and other services that provide a strong foundation for rehabilitation.”

The FCSO stated that it couldn’t share information about Thompson’s health condition when he was arrested “or what decisions he made regarding his right to accept or refuse medical care,” but that it would be taking multiple steps to improve the jail even before the investigation into Thompson’s death was complete.

The FCSO said it had approved an additional $500,000 to address “the infestation of bed bugs, lice and other vermin” in the jail. The sheriff’s office will also update protocols for security rounds, add additional staff for the mental health unit, and transfer more than 600 inmates to other jails to reduce overcrowding.


Harper, the attorney for Thompson’s family, said in his Facebook post that jail records show that officials at the facility, as well as medical staff, “noticed that Mr. Thompson was deteriorating, but did nothing to administer aid to him or to help him.”

“They literally watched his health decline until he died,” Harper added. “When his body was found one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because, in her words, she ‘freaked out.’”

First responders attempted to save Thompson’s life, but were unsuccessful, USA Today reported.

Harper described the cell in which Thompson was kept as “not fit for a diseased animal.”

“He did not deserve this. Someone has to be held accountable for his death,” Harper continued.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Sheriff Responds To Family’s Claim Loved One Was ‘Eaten Alive’ By Bed Bugs At Atlanta Jail