During a press conference demanding justice for LaShawn Thompson, Gerald Griggs, the President of the Georgia NAACP, called on Georgia’s leaders to take action in his tragic death, including Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis.
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“As the oldest civil rights organization in this county, we are sick and tired of having to stand out in front of Capitols to demand justice,” Griggs said addressing the crowd with LaShawn Thompson’s family by his side.
Thompson, 35, was found dead in Fulton County Jail last year with his body “infested” with insects. An independent autopsy found that Thompson’s death was a result of severe neglect, compounded by untreated schizophrenia, dehydration, malnourishment, and an extensive infestation of insects on his body.
“A man was subjected to death based on criminal negligence, which the last time I read, the criminal code is chargeable in this state,” said Griggs during the press conference. “So it’s time for the Fulton County district attorney to do more.”
Griggs also demanded changes at the Fulton County Detention Center, where Thompson lost his life and called upon Governor Brian Kemp to do more to fund mental health services in the state.
“We’re always talking about mental health and we need more mental health funding, said Griggs. “So were calling on the governor to do a couple things. One, he needs to meet with this family to address what happened in his state. Two, he needs to fully fund our mental health facilities in the state, so we don’t have another LaShawn Thompson languishing in a pre-trial detention facility being eaten by bed bugs. He was innocent. He was merely being detained. That should not have led to his death.”
LaShawn Thompson’s autopsy results come about eight months after he was found dead in the Fulton County Jail’s psychiatric ward. He was arrested three months earlier on a charge of simple battery but was being held on a bond of $2,500 that he was unable to get paid to secure his freedom.
Graphic images of Thompson’s dead body as well as decrepit-looking jail cells were posted to social media following the report of his death.
These are the DEPLORABLE and inhumane conditions Lashawn Thompson had to endure during his stay in the psychiatric wing of the Fulton County (GA) Jail. After his death, he was found with insect bites all over his body. We cannot look away, we must demand justice! pic.twitter.com/mpO680k5K8
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 20, 2023
No criminal charges have been brought in Thompson’s death, but the chief jailer at Fulton County Jail, along with two assistant chief jailers, resigned at the sheriff’s request.
Meanwhile, the Thompson family continues to fight justice and accountability in the death of their son.