Family of man ‘eaten alive’ by bed bugs in the Fulton County jail gets $4 million settlement

August 5, 2023
1 min read
Family of man 'eaten alive' by bed bugs in the Fulton County jail gets $4 million settlement

The Gist: The tragic death of LaShawn Thompson in the Fulton County Jail culminated in a record-setting $4 million settlement, marking the largest pre-litigation sum ever in Fulton County. Thompson, described by family lawyers as being ‘eaten alive’ by bed bugs, died under harrowing conditions, raising serious concerns about the state of inmate care.

Backstory: LaShawn Thompson had been arrested on a misdemeanor simple battery charge and subsequently housed in the psychiatric wing due to mental health concerns. Family lawyers state that three months into his detention, Thompson was discovered lifeless in a grimy, insect-riddled cell. Shocking revelations indicate that despite jail staff observing his deteriorating condition, Thompson went without assistance.

By The Numbers:

  • $4 million: The settlement amount agreed upon by the Fulton County Commission for the Thompson family.
  • $5.3 million: Previously approved funds by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to enhance the jail facilities, including:
    • $2.1 million for live detainee heart rate and blood pressure tracking in Medical and Psychiatric Units.
    • $485,000 allotted for the sanitization and decontamination of medical and psychiatric observation sections.
    • $630,000 for 4D imaging to identify contraband in inmate mail.
    • $1.1 million for the installation of 91 additional jail security cameras.
    • $1 million for emergency aid collaboration with Emergency Management Services, Inc.
    • $869,893 designated for the subsequent stage of the Jail Feasibility study.

Shake-Up in Command: Following the incident, Sheriff Pat Labat sanctioned the resignations of significant personnel: the Chief Jailer, Assistant Chief Jailer, and the Assistant Chief Jailer of the Criminal Investigative Division. The jail is also switching medical vendors, aiming to elevate inmate healthcare.

Why It Matters: Thompson’s death has spotlighted significant lapses in inmate health and treatment, urging authorities to re-evaluate their existing systems.

What’s Next: Multiple investigations continue, with the Office of Professional Standards and Atlanta Police Department delving deep into Thompson’s death.

The Thompson family, alongside Attorneys Michael D. Harper and Ben Crump, have expressed gratitude for the support received. While they’ve reached a civil resolution, they remain focused on the U.S. Department of Justice’s probe into the Fulton County Jail and are advocating for a new jail facility. The family’s fight for reform, particularly for families impacted by jail neglect, rages on.

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