Credit: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, @TheKingCenter via Twitter
Family of man who died in bedbug-infested cell in Georgia jail reaches settlement with county
Georgia's Fulton County has reached a settlement with the family of a man who died in a bedbug-infested cell in the county jail's psychiatric wing, the family's lawyers said Thursday.
Lashawn Thompson, 35, died in September, three months after he was booked into the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Attorneys Ben Crump and Michael Harper, who represent Thompson's family, said in a news release Thursday that the family has reached settlements with the county "and other unidentified entities."
Thompson's death gained public attention in April after Harper released photos of his face and body covered in insects. The U.S. Department of Justice cited Thompson's death last month when announcing an investigation into jail conditions in Fulton County.
The family is satisfied with the settlements, but the lawyers said in the statement that "we are nowhere near the end of this journey to full justice."
"We will continue to work with the Thompson family –– and the community that rallied behind them –– to ensure that a tragedy like this one never happens to another family or takes one more life," the statement says. "Lashawn's life mattered, and together, we can demand and motivate significant change in his name. That will be the legacy of Lashawn Thompson."
The lawyers said the settlements are for "undisclosed amounts." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday that Fulton County commissioners on Wednesday voted to approve a $4 million settlement but said detailed terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.
An independent autopsy released by the family in May said Thompson "was neglected to death." An earlier report from the Fulton County medical examiner's office found no obvious signs of trauma on Thompson's body but noted a "severe bed bug infestation." It listed his cause of death as "undetermined."
Department of Justice investigators plan to look at living conditions, access to medical and mental health care, use of excessive force by staff and conditions that may give rise to violence between people held in Fulton County jails, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said last month when announcing the federal investigation.