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Family of man eaten by bed bugs gets $4 million settlement, still fighting for reform at county jail

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The family of Lashawn Thompson, the man who was allegedly eaten by bed bugs, says they will keep fighting for reform at the Fulton County Jail.

In a new development this week, the Fulton County Commission approved a $4 million settlement for Thompson’s family.

The family sued the county after Thompson died at the county jail in September 2022.

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The family said although they are satisfied with the settlement, they still believe a new jail is needed in Fulton County.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke with the family’s attorney about where to go from here.

“It does go to show that they took this case seriously,” said Michael Harper, family attorney.

For weeks, family members and activists rallied at the jail, calling for answers and accountability. In April, the Board of Commissioners approved $3.5 million in funding for sweeping emergency changes at the jail. In that same month, Sheriff Patrick Labat called for the resignation of three Fulton County jailers.

On Thursday, Washington spoke with Harper and he says the fight is not over for Thompson’s family.

“They will continue to advocate for jail reform and they also will continue to push and ask for a new jail to be built in Fulton County,” said Harper.

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Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump also represents the family.

In a joint statement, both Crump and Harper wrote:

“Although the civil case is resolved, we remain vigilant of the investigation announced by the U.S. Department of Justice into the Fulton County Jail, and we continue to push for an investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney’s office.”

The attorney representing the Thompson Family said this is the largest pre-litigation settlement in Fulton County history.

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