A Georgia prison inmate died after being “eaten alive” by bed bugs, his family's attorney said Thursday.
Lashawn Thompson was reportedly arrested last year on simple battery charges and placed in the Fulton County Jail's psychiatric unit after jail officials determined he suffered from schizophrenia.
Thompson was found unresponsive in his prison cell on September 19 last year. He died after responding officers and medical staff failed to revive him, according to a Fulton County coroner's report obtained by USA Today.
His body was “covered in bites” at the time of his death, his family's attorney, Michael D. Harper, said at a news conference Thursday, the Miami Herald reported.
No obvious signs of trauma were found on the body at the time of his death, the coroner wrote. The report highlighted that there was a “severe bed bug infestation” in the prisoner’s cell in the psychiatric ward.
During the press conference, Haper shared graphic images showing the deplorable condition of the cell in which Thomson lived. His family is now demanding action to move the facility to new, livable premises.
The Fulton County Sheriff's Office has launched a “comprehensive investigation” into Thompson's death.
“First and foremost, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend its condolences to the family of Lashawn Thompson,” the office said in a statement to Atlanta News-First.
Public records obtained by Harper's law firm showed that Thompson had bed bug infections early on, but nothing was ever done about it.
“The ongoing investigation is reviewing medical care details and will ultimately determine whether criminal charges are warranted in this case,” the sheriff’s office added.
It also promised to address the following issues:
- Authorized an additional expenditure of $500,000 to combat the problem of bed bugs and other pest control, to be carried out in conjunction with prior cleanup efforts to combat communicable diseases common in community facilities.
- Checking the hygienic conditions in cells during security tours.
Dirty prison cell