The county coroner ruled that the cause of death was “undetermined”, while the inquest hired by the deceased’s family characterized it as “homicide”.
A man found dead and covered in lice and feces at an Atlanta jail in the southeastern United States was malnourished, dehydrated and had not received schizophrenia medication for a month, a private coroner said Monday.
The official coroner for Fulton County, Georgia, ruled in September that the cause of death of 35-year-old Lashawn Thompson was “undetermined.”
But Roger Mitchell, the coroner hired by the deceased’s family, confirmed she had been “neglected to death” and described what happened as “murder”.
Thompson’s family released the Mitchell report on Monday, and the attorneys they hired called for the officers to be held accountable.
Ben Crump, a noted civil rights attorney who handled several cases of police abuse against African-Americans, said, “For 93 days a mentally ill citizen was grossly neglected.” “It was not a natural death. It was a murder,” said Crump.
Images provided by family from the state where the cell was located.
Thompson, a homeless African-American, was arrested on June 12, 2022 while sleeping in a park in front of an Atlanta day care center.
He had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for robbery, but was jailed for “assault” because of allegedly spitting at law enforcement officers.
He remained in jail as he was unable to pay the bail to be released.
According to Mitchell’s report, in the first two months of his imprisonment, Thompson was in good condition.
The prison’s mental health officer reported on July 27 that he was in a clean cell, living normally, was healthy, and was taking his medication for bipolar and schizoaffective disorders.
According to Mitchell, there was hardly any report of her care over the next 43 days and no record of her taking medications.
When the coroner was able to examine Thompson’s body a few days after his death, he found that he had been suffering from malnutrition and dehydration; He had lost 18% of his body weight and had an extensive and severe lice infestation.
Crump demanded that local officials investigate the death, but did not file a civil suit, as he has done in many previous cases of death at the hands of police.
“Someone should be held accountable for this,” said the lawyer, who called the death “criminal negligence”.