February 21, 2024

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Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail situations to be probed in DOJ civil legal rights investigation



CNN
 — 

The Justice Office announced Thursday a civil rights investigation into dilapidated and unsanitary circumstances at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, as properly as violence versus detainees.

The department will search into the disorders in which inmates are held, their obtain to psychological and bodily overall health care and violence perpetrated towards detainees.

The investigation was sparked in component by the loss of life of Lashawn Thompson, an incarcerated person who died in the jail very last yr “covered in lice and filth,” Assistant Lawyer Normal Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division reported in a news convention Thursday.

“Addressing ailments of confinement in our country requires aim on the conditions that exist inside our jails,” Clarke reported, stressing jails should have “constitutional and humane conditions” in which individuals can dwell though they navigate the prison justice approach.

“Detention or incarceration in jail need to not consist of exposure to unconstitutional residing disorders that spot lives in jeopardy or hazards critical harm or assaults,” Clarke explained.

Incarcerated people “are entitled to simple protections of their civil rights,” Lawyer Typical Merrick Garland claimed in a assertion pursuing the information conference. “During this detailed assessment of the disorders of confinement at the Fulton County Jail, the Justice Department will identify whether systemic violations of federal rules exist, and if so, how to suitable them.”

Thompson’s relatives is “encouraged” by the Justice Department’s investigation, Michael Harper, an legal professional for Thompson’s relatives, reported in a assertion Thursday, introducing they “hope that the dependable parties will be held accountable.”

Harper earlier attributed Thompson’s dying in custody last September to unsanitary problems, which includes currently being housed inside of a bug-infested cell that Harper mentioned was “not in good shape for a diseased animal.”

“This is inexcusable and it is deplorable,” he explained in April.

At the time of his demise, Thompson had been in custody on a misdemeanor assault charge since June 2022, Harper has said. Thompson was housed in the psychiatric wing of the jail simply because he endured from mental overall health concerns, per the lawyer.

Thompson’s death and a preliminary interior investigation led Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat to ask for the resignations of the facility’s chief jailer and two assistant chief jailers. All 3 stepped down in April, according to a statement from the business.

The Civil Legal rights Division’s Exclusive Litigation Section, which is conducting the investigation with the US Attorney’s Office environment for the Northern District of Georgia, will also probe no matter if the county and sheriff’s office environment “discriminate from persons with psychiatric disabilities inside the jail,” a information launch explained.

The Fulton County Health care Examiner’s place of work listed Thompson’s method and bring about of death as undetermined, in accordance to a doc earlier sent to CNN. The report mentioned schizoaffective condition, bipolar and acute exacerbation as “other disorders.”

A individual healthcare overview commissioned by lawyers for Thompson’s relatives decided his death was a homicide, citing in part a lack of medication in his technique they reported indicated his “severe mental illness” had long gone untreated. Dehydration, malnutrition and serious overall body insect infestation, together with lice and bed bugs, have been also stated as “significant ailments.”

Nevertheless, Dr. Kendall Von Crowns, the main health-related examiner in Tarrant County, Texas, who reviewed and analyzed the report for CNN, reported it was also complicated to identify the fashion of dying primarily based on the impartial report.

Without having viewing the unique autopsy, toxicology report and photographs of Thompson’s system, “it appears to be like malnutrition and dehydration is the cause of his demise,” Von Crowns told CNN.

In its news release Thursday, the Justice Office indicated it experienced “not reached any conclusions about the allegations in this make a difference.”