Days after inmate Samuel Lawrence reportedly filed a handwritten prisoner civil rights complaint in federal court, he was found dead in Fulton County Jail on Saturday (Aug. 26) night.
Details of his death have not been released; however, the family is working on obtaining an independent autopsy, Fox 5 Atlanta reports. The 34-year-old’s complaint stated he was living in inhumane conditions. “I am in a cell in isolation with no water, no working toilet. I am sleeping on a hard metal floor, and then they decreased my food,” he claimed.
The 16-page filing also alleged beatings from other inmates and even the guards, including a time when Lawrence claimed he was stomped and kicked in the head while in handcuffs.
According to records, the now-deceased man had been incarcerated since December 2022 on a second-degree arson charge. He was being held on a $30,000 bond, but he could not afford to pay it. A hearing was set for next month to determine if his bond could be reduced. He spent several months in jail before his attorney could get the judge to grant it in the first place.
Lawrence is the fourth person who died in Fulton County Jail custody within the last month, the outlet adds. The U.S. Department of Justice investigation has been focused on allegations of poor, violent conditions at the Rice Street jail. It will determine whether individuals with mental illnesses — such as Lawrence, who was reportedly diagnosed with bipolar disorder — are being discriminated against at the facility.
Frank Richardson, his father, spoke out. “I got [to go the rest] of the little time I got here thinking about not having my son. That’s going to hurt me worse than anything,” he expressed.
Richardson added that he taught his son to be a man of God. The mournful dad also said he taught him to learn from his mistakes.
Lawrence was found unresponsive in his cell during dinner rounds at approximately 4:20 p.m. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
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