FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — An inmate at the Fulton County Jail has died just days after the sheriff warned local leaders it could happen.
Sources told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne that an inmate on the mental health floor of the jail was found dead in his cell with his wrists and ankles bound.
Another source says another question is whether another mentally ill inmate tied him up before or after he died.
“Currently, the Atlanta Police Homicide Unit is investigating, not to say it’s a homicide at this time. We really don’t have any clear indication until possibly after an autopsy,” Fulton County Lt. Col. Adam Lee said.
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Thursday’s death marks the tenth inmate death since the beginning of 2022. Those deaths are a combination of suicide, homicide and medical issues.
Lee says he is frustrated that a planned move of hundreds of inmates to the Atlanta City Detention Center is being held up by the Atlanta City Council as they wait for a jail population review.
Earlier this month, Winne learned that more than 450 inmates in the Fulton County Jail were being forced to sleep in “boats” on the floor.
“If we were able to relieve some of the overcrowdedness, the staff issue would be seriously diminished,” Lee said.
Lee says he does not know yet if the jail’s overcrowding and staff challenges played a role in the latest death, but both are potential factors in any death there.
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“I am moving in a space where people’s lives are in danger,” Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat told the city council.
Atlanta City Councilwoman Liliana Bakhtiari says she believes that the jail population review needs to happen, but she is confident that the transfer will be approved.
“There are stories in lives attached to these numbers, and so, yes, while it would be easy just to move them from one jail to the next, why don’t we go the extra mile to find out what are the root causes of these problems, and why is this happening, and why are we getting conflicting reports?,” Bakhtiari explained.
She says that she is concerned that if the sheriff’s office does not have staff at the city detention center and has to pull in city staff, there could be a potential liability.
Sheriff Labat says the county has provided the requested data to the independent review panel.
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