As the country turns its attention to Fulton County Jail in anticipation of former President Trump's booking, some are calling for a closer look at the conditions ordinary criminal defendants — unable to pay bond — are subject to at the controversial facility.
Lashawn Thompson died in custody at the Atlanta-area jail. An autopsy revealed a disturbing death by "neglect" — his body was found covered in lice and bedbugs.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Thompson family, said during a press conference, "Understand, this is a human rights violation. What happened to Lashawn Thompson is a human rights violation."
Atteeyah Hollie is the deputy director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, which has sued Fulton County Jail over its conditions four different times.
"We felt the need to step in repeatedly, because people's lives are on the line," Hollie said.
Hollie says what happened to Thompson is one of many horror stories she's been told over the years.
"This is a facility that holds too many people. This is a facility where people who have mental illness suffer a unique kind of abuse. This is a place that is severely understaffed, which leads to people being attacked, people suffering from the effects of not having safety and security around them," Hollie said.
In July, the Department of Justice announced an investigation into the Fulton County Jail, saying there are credible reports of, "unsafe, unsanitary living conditions" and "excessive force and violence within the jail."
Assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, Kristen Clarke, said during the announcement of the investigation, "the level of violence at the jail is deeply concerning and at one point in 2022 the jail averaged more than one stabbing per day."
Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat, who's in charge of the facility, says he welcomes the investigation and believes a "replacement jail is needed."
Hollie disagrees. "I patently disagree with the notion that more jails and more beds will solve the problems that we're seeing in Fulton County," she said.
The family of Lashawn Thompson settled their lawsuit against Fulton County for $4 million.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com