Colin Kaepernick to pay for autopsy of inmate family says was “eaten alive” by bugs
Colin Kaepernick will pay for an independent autopsy of a Georgia inmate whose family attorneys claim was “eaten alive” by insects and bed bugs while in jail and later died in his cell last year.
Ben Crump, who is representing the family of Lashawn Thompson, said Thursday that the free-agent NFL quarterback and activist is helping with the cost of a second autopsy. A medical examiner’s report listed the cause of death as “undetermined” but noted a “severe bed bug infestation,” the Associated Press reported.
“We’re 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,” Crump said in a news conference outside Fulton County Jail, where Thompson was held and died.
“We want to thank Colin Kaepernick for helping this family get to the truth,” he added. “And as soon as we get the results of that independent autopsy we’re going to come right back here and let people know what happened to him.”
CBS News reached out to Know Your Rights Camp for comment on Thompson’s autopsy but did not immediately hear back. However, the nonprofit’s Twitter account appeared to confirm media reports of their involvement.
Kaepernick launched an initiative in 2022 to help families with free, secondary autopsies through his Know Your Rights Camp organization. The initiative collaborates with a panel of board-certified forensic pathologists who perform autopsies, disclose preliminary findings and issue final reports to requesting families.
Thompson, 35, was arrested on a misdemeanor simple battery charge and taken to Fulton County Jail in June 2022, and later placed in the psychiatric wing due to mental health issues. But three months later, he “was found dead in a filthy jail cell after being eaten alive by insects and bed bugs,” his family attorney Michael Harper said.
Jail records show that medical staff and detention noticed Thompson’s health was deteriorating, but they didn’t help him, according to Harper, who called for a criminal investigation into his death. Harper also released photos showing his cell infested with bugs and squalor conditions.
Three members of Fulton County Jail’s leadership resigned since the Fulton County sheriff began an investigation into Thompson’s death. It is still being investigated by the Office of Professional Standards and Atlanta Police Department and will be handed over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations once complete.
Senator Jon Ossoff, a Georgia Democrat who is a chair on the Senate Human Rights Subcommittee, said Thursday he’s launching an inquiry into conditions of incarceration in Georgia and across the U.S., according to AP.
Caitlin O’Kane contributed to this report.