Fulton County reaches $4M settlement with family of inmate ‘eaten alive’ by bed bugs

Lashawn Thompson
Lashawn Thompson(Contributed)
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 5:23 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2023 at 11:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Fulton County has reached a $4 million settlement with the family of Lashawn Thompson, the inmate who died in the jail in September of 2022, commissioner Robb Pitts said. The settlement was approved during today’s Board of Commissioners meeting following the Executive Session. The vote was 6 – 0.

“It was a mediated settlement. All parties came together to discuss the facts, life expectancy, and things of that nature that go into such a decision and then the final analysis was we agreed on a 4-million-dollar settlement on behalf of Fulton County,” Chairman Pitts said.

Thompson died after being in the jail’s psychiatric wing for three months following a misdemeanor battery charge. His body was found riddled with sores that attorneys for his family believe were caused by bed bugs and insects.

Thompson’s family said jail staff noticed his deteriorating condition but did nothing, leading up to a detention officer reportedly failing to administer CPR because she was “freaking out” at the sight of Thompson’s body. Family attorney Michael Harper called it “the most horrendous in-custody death that I have ever heard of in this country.”

Harper said the family will not make a statement on the settlement, but that “the Fulton County commission vote speaks for itself.”

The county’s chief jailer and two assistant jailers resigned in the aftermath of the death.

Details on the settlement were not revealed outside of the $4 million. After Thompson’s death, the county pledged more than $5 million to address problems at the Rice Street Jail and the death was cited as one of the many reasons behind a Department of Justice investigation into the jail.

Fulton County later renewed the contract of the jail’s medical provider over the family’s objections.

Return to Atlanta News First for updates on this developing story.

Autopsy on Lashawn Thompson to be released Monday
Autopsy on Lashawn Thompson to be released Monday(Ben Crump Law (via family of Lashawn Thompson))