FOX NEWS – Lashawn Thompson was reportedly eaten alive by insects in his Atlanta jail cell in June 2022 while awaiting trial on a simple battery charge, according to his family's attorney.
Now the 35-year-old's family is calling for the Fulton County Jail to be closed and a criminal investigation into Thompson's death.
“People like him are neglected. His parents are deceased. No wife, no children. His family isn't from Atlanta, so they weren't here when he was here to keep up with him. But they got the call that he died in prison,” attorney Michael Harper of Harper Law Firm told Fox News Digital on Thursday.
Prison officials took Thompson to the psychiatric unit after determining he suffered from schizophrenia, Harper said. In a press release Wednesday, the attorney released several extremely graphic photos of Thompson and the dirt in which he allegedly died at the detention center.
“The family agreed to the photos…. show[ing] that the prison cell in which Mr. Thompson was housed was not suitable for a deceased animal,” Harper wrote. “He doesn't deserve this. Someone has to be held responsible for his death. The Fulton County Jail needs to be closed and replaced.”
Three months after being admitted to the psychiatric hospital, Thompson was found “in a filthy prison cell after being eaten alive by insects and bed bugs,” the release said.
Public records obtained by Harper's law firm appear to show that detention officers and prison medical staff noticed Thompson's deterioration – including an infection with bed bugs and lice on his torso – while he was still alive, but did nothing to help him.
There were “plans” to move him to another part of the prison, but these never came to fruition as they eventually found Thompson dead in the cell, Harper claimed.
“They literally watched his health deteriorate until he died. When his body was found, one of the detention officers refused to perform CPR because, as she put it, she “went crazy,” Harper wrote in the press release.
Thompson's family is expected to speak during a news conference Thursday afternoon.
“They’re horrified,” Harper said.
The Fulton County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital. According to 11 Alive News, Sheriff Pat Labat is pushing to build a new detention center because of overcrowding, which researchers estimate could cost up to $2 billion.
“Today there are almost 600 people sleeping on the floor and the prison is held together with duct tape and chewing gum,” Labat said in February, according to 11 Alive. “If there are people who are ingenious enough to unplug the wires from some electrical outlets and use the materials there to build and make homemade knives – then we need to create a better environment.”