‘Past time to clean house’: Chief Fulton Co. jailers resign after family says inmate died in filth

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat announced Monday that several of the Fulton County jail’s executive staff have resigned after lawyers claimed a mentally ill inmate died after a bedbug infestation.

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According to a release, Labat asked for the resignations of the chief jailer, assistant chief jailer and members of the criminal investigative division.

“It’s clear to me that it’s time, past time, to clean house,” Labat said in a news release.


A spokesperson for Labat said that the executive team, which has more than 65 years of jail administration and experience.

“When leveraged at its very best, that experience can be invaluable,” Labat said. “However, it can also lend itself to complacency, stagnation & settling for the status quo.”

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The sheriff’s office is also reviewing all legal options to change medical vendors and enter into a new contract with a provider that can “effectively, consistently and compassionately deliver the best standard of care.”

Last week the family of 35-year-old Lashawn Thompson, along with their lawyers, demanded a criminal investigation into his death in September after a three-month stay at the jail. They also demanded that the county build a new jail.

Thompson was being held on misdemeanor battery charges that he had yet to be tried for.

Photos provided by the family’s lawyer show a jail cell in deplorable condition and pictures of Thompson’s body – of his face and torso covered with bugs.

Attorney Michael Harper said Thompson was diagnosed with schizophrenia but was physically healthy when booked into jail.

“There is no excuse for a mentally ill inmate to be left alone in a jail, abandoned to die,” Harper said.

The medical examiner reported Thompson’s cause of death as “undetermined.”

“They did nothing to help him. Nothing. They found him dead in his cell, lying there infested with bed bugs and lice. And that’s what killed him,” Harper said.

Thompson’s brother, Brad McCrae, said the family was horrified to see the photos.

“It was heartbreaking because nobody should be seen like that. Nobody should see that,” McCrae said.

Investigators are still working to learn what led to Thompson’s death. After the investigation is complete, the case will be handed over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“Most importantly, we want to, once again, extend our sincere condolences to the family of Mr. LaShawn Thompson,” said Sheriff Patrick ‘Pat’ Labat. “The final investigative report will not ease the family’s grief or bring their loved one back, but it is my hope and expectation that it provides a full, accurate and transparent account of the facts surrounding Mr. Thompson’s death so that it provides all of the answers they are seeking and deserve.”

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