Colin Kaepernick to fund autopsy after Fulton jail inmate found dead, covered in bugs, attorneys say

Lashawn Thompson died in the lockup’s psychiatric wing
The San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick, right, and Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 12, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

The San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick, right, and Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 12, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/TNS)

Colin Kaepernick, the civil rights activist and former NFL quarterback, will pay for an independent autopsy for Lashawn Thompson, who died in the Fulton County Jail last year, according to Thompson’s family’s attorneys.

Thompson, 35, of Winter Haven, Florida, was discovered unresponsive in the jail’s psychiatric wing covered in bed bugs, according to a Fulton County Medical Examiner report. His cause of death was undetermined, the report said, noting a “severe bed bug infestation” in the jail.

“We are going to get an independent autopsy done and Colin Kaepernick has told the family that he will pay for it no matter what so we can get to the truth,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced during a meeting with reporters outside the jail Thursday. “So we want to thank Colin Kaepernick for helping this family get to the truth.”

Kaepernick drew national attention for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America. His organization, Know Your Rights Camp, did not respond to requests for comment Friday. It says on its website that it provides autopsies free for families who have lost loved ones in law enforcement custody.

“Our pathologists will actively seek the truth to provide the victims’ families with the most medically sound cause of death,” the campaign’s website says.

Thompson was arrested in June 2022 after Georgia Tech police found him sleeping in a park in Midtown. They’d previously charged him with criminal trespassing after finding him in a campus parking deck in 2019. In 2020, they charged him with simple assault for allegedly spitting on a woman.

The case has drawn attention from federal lawmakers and prompted Sheriff Patrick Labat to oust several top jail officials. Days after Thompson’s family called for an investigation and for the jail’s closure, Labat announced that Birmingham-based NaphCare would exit its agreement to provide inmate health care at the jail.

“The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office,” Labat said, “is currently reviewing proposals to secure a medical provider that is capable of meeting, and committed to providing, the standard of care required in a large jail setting with efficiency, consistency and compassion.”

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