Jailer says he’s being used as scapegoat over death of inmate allegedly eaten alive by bed bugs

ATLANTA — Col. John Jackson says he’s not the only one to blame for a myriad of issues plaguing the Fulton County Jail.

“This is the truth as I know it, the playing field was not even. I was never given what I needed to fulfill and run a jail effective [sic] as a jail administrator,” Jackson said.

Jackson is one of three former Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputies who were forced to resign.

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Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Ashli Lincoln he questioned his executive leadership regarding the death of inmate Lashawn Thompson.

In a statement, Labat said, “In light of Mr. Thompson’s death and the current conditions of the Rice Street jail, I think it’s painfully clear that the Chief Jailer did not meet the demands of his job”.

Thompson’s family claims he was eaten alive by bed bugs in his cell last September.

Jackson says Thompson had been in and out of the jail multiple times and was known to carry lice.

He says deputies did conduct rounds, checking on him days prior to his death.


Thompson was housed in the jail psychiatric ward at the time of his death.

“I was not briefed on this particular death. I have not been briefed on quite a few deaths, to be honest with you,” Jackson said.

Jackson says while it was his job to oversee the day-to-day operations with inmates and deputies, he was not involved in the death investigation process.

Jackson says all inmate deaths are investigated by the Office of Professional Standards, and according to Jackson, they report to the jail’s second in command.

Jackson says that prior to being asked to resign, he was never reprimanded or questioned about his leadership regarding operations at the jail.

Jackson points to the national attention Thompson’s case has gained as the motivation behind his forced resignation.

“If Mr. Thompson is the reason why we are not no longer with the Sheriff’s Office, or to ask for our resignation, why did it take until April to do it?” he said.

“I’m not interested in excuses after people have resigned over their failures, only sustainable solutions to make sure something like this never happens again,” Labat said.