As previously reported by REVOLT, Lashawn Thompson died while in custody at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia. The 35-year-old’s family claims he was eaten alive by bed bugs and lice after bite marks were found covering his body. Now, NFL free agent and activist Colin Kaepernick is stepping in to lend Thompson’s loved ones assistance.
A Fulton County medical examiner’s initial autopsy report listed Thompson’s official cause of death as “undetermined,” but did note an “extremely severe” bug infestation that could have contributed to other health issues. Yesterday (April 20), it was announced that Kaepernick would fund a second autopsy. The former San Francisco 49ers athlete contacted civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the victim’s family, in regards to getting accurate details on Thompson’s passing.
At the press conference, Attorney Ben Crump announced that Colin Kaepernick would help fund an independent autopsy of Lashawn Thompson. The medical examiner’s report did not determine a cause of death but did note the severe bed bug infestation. pic.twitter.com/BWDg9DJFjl
— Matthew Pearson (@justmattphotoj) April 20, 2023
Michael Harper, who is also legally representing Thompson’s relatives, said, “The cell he was in was not fit for a diseased animal. This is inexcusable and it’s deplorable.” After apologizing to the 35-year-old’s loved ones, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat released a statement. “The type of infestations that contributed to Mr. Thompson’s death are going to be a recurring problem in a jail where hundreds of detainees do not have cells and have to sleep on the floor,” he confessed. Georgia Sen. Jon Ossoff has also taken action by launching an investigation into the facility where Thompson died as well as two other county jails.
This tragedy won’t be the first time Kaepernick has aided victims’ families. According to Sports Illustrated, in 2022, the former quarterback revealed he would cover the cost of multiple independent investigations through his Know Your Rights Camp Autopsy Initiative. The timing could not have been more perfect for Jennifer Schmidt, a California resident whose father died shortly after he was taken into custody. “I didn’t believe my dad just went to jail and died,” she said before confessing she did not have enough money to look into the matter further. “I just couldn’t afford it. I was discouraged. I was like: I’m gonna have to depend on what the county says,” she added.
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