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A fourth inmate has died in this problematic jail's custody this month

An inmate died over the weekend at Fulton County Jail, after having recently filed a complaint against deputies for use of excessive force.
A fourth inmate has died in this problematic jail's custody this month
Posted at 3:19 PM, Aug 30, 2023

An inmate at Georgia's Fulton County jail died over the weekend, becoming the fourth death in its custody within the last month.

A detention officer found 34-year-old inmate Samuel Lawrence unresponsive in his cell on Aug. 26 during rounds, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday. Lawrence was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Lawrence was arrested in December on a second-degree felony arson charge and was granted a $30,000 bond in April, which his attorney was aiming to reduce at a hearing scheduled for next month according to 11Alive. He was never indicted on the charge.

Before his death, Lawrence had filed a civil rights complaint alleging excessive force from deputies and other inmates at the jail that led to injuries.

The sheriff's office said the Atlanta Police Department is now conducting a death investigation into Lawrence's death, but it didn't say the same for the three other inmates who have died in the jail's custody this month.

On Aug. 2, the sheriff's office announced the first August death after 40-year-old inmate Montay Stinson was found unresponsive in his cell with no obvious signs of injury and didn't respond to revival attempts.

Then a detention officer found 34-year-old inmate Christopher Smith unresponsive in a medical unit cell on Aug. 10. He died after being taken to the same hospital as Lawrence.

A week later, 66-year-old Alexander Hawkins was found unresponsive in a medical unit cell and was pronounced dead after resuscitation attempts failed.

These four deaths aren't the only reason eyes are on Fulton County Jail.

SEE MORE: Former President Donald Trump booked, released in GA election case

Last week, former President Donald Trump and 18 others were booked and released there after being indicted for allegedly taking part in a scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

And in July, the Department of Justice launched a civil investigation into the Fulton County Jail following allegations of unsanitary conditions and violence resulting in "serious injuries and homicides."

This investigation stemmed from the September 2022 death of 35-year-old inmate LaShawn Thompson, whose family claimed he had been eaten alive by bedbugs and insects while living in the jail. A private autopsy released to the family revealed Thompson had died from "severe neglect." They reached a $4 million settlement with the county over the death this month. 

The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy to determine cause of death in each of the four deaths this month, the sheriff's office said.

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