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Some Atlanta jail staff members resign after death of inmate allegedly ‘eaten alive’ by bedbugs

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(ATLANTA) — An investigation into the death of a man whose family claims he was “eaten alive by insects and bedbugs” in an Atlanta jail has led to “sweeping changes,” according to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Patrick “Pat” Labat said in a statement Monday that he’s asked for and received the resignations of multiple employees of the Fulton County Jail: the chief jailer, assistant chief jailer and the assistant chief jailer of the site’s Criminal Investigative Division.

The resignations come after the lawyer of LaShawn Thompson’s family said last week that Thompson’s body was discovered in a “filthy jail cell” on Sept. 13, 2022, after medical staff allegedly ignored his declining health.

“They literally watched his health decline until he died. When his body was found, one of the detention officers refused to administer CPR because in her words, she ‘freaked out,"” the family’s attorney, Michael Harper, wrote in an April 12 Facebook post. “He did not deserve this. Someone has to be held accountable for his death.”

Thompson was arrested on June 12, 2022, for simple battery against police officials, according to jail records.

In the statement, posted to its Facebook page, the sheriff’s office said the executive team that’s been in place “has more than 65 years of jail administration and law enforcement experience.”

“When leveraged at its very best, that experience can be invaluable. However, it can also lend itself to complacency, stagnation and settling for the status quo,” it said.

“It’s clear to me that it’s time, past time, to clean house,” Labat said in the statement.

According to Harper, Thompson suffered from mental health issues and was placed in a psychiatric ward in jail three months before his death.

Thompson’s family has called for the jail to close.

The Harper Law Firm did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office says it’s exploring its options to change medical vendors and to partner with a provider that can “compassionately” deliver care, officials said.

An investigation is being conducted by the Office of Professional Standards, as well as the Atlanta Police Department, authorities said. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations will ultimately review a “full investigative package” once the probes are complete, the sheriff’s office said.

“Most importantly, we want to, once again, extend our sincere condolences to the family of Mr. LaShawn Thompson,” Labat said. “The final investigative report will not ease the family’s grief or bring their loved one back, but it is my hope and expectation that it provides a full, accurate, and transparent account of the facts surrounding Mr. Thompson’s death so that it provides all of the answers they are seeking and deserve.”

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who’s also representing Thompson’s family, announced that he’s holding a press conference on Thursday, alongside the family and Harper, to demand the Department of Justice investigate the jail.

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