ATLANTA - Fulton County jailers have confirmed yet another person has died while in their custody, the fourth within the last month alone.
Family members identified the man as 34-year-old Samuel Lawrence in an exclusive interview with FOX 5’s Rob DiRienzo.
"I got to go to the rest of the little time I got here thinking about not having my son," said Frank Richardson, Lawrence’s dad. "That’s going to hurt me worse than anything."
Guards found Lawrence’s body on Saturday night, just days after he filed a handwritten prisoner civil rights complaint in federal court.
"I am in a cell in isolation with no water, no working toilet," the complaint reads. "[I am] sleeping on a hard metal floor, and then they decreased my food."
Lawrence went on to detail beatings he said were from other inmates and sometimes guards themselves.
The ongoing violence and the inhumane conditions at the Rice Street jail have been the focus of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.
"I mean there are 16 pages of this stuff," said Sheba Terrell, his aunt, flipping through the complaint. "He’s talking about how one time he was in handcuffs, and he was being stomped and kicked in the head."
The coroner has not yet released the cause of death and the family is working on getting an independent autopsy.
The DOJ is investigating whether people with mental illnesses are being discriminated against while incarcerated there. Lawrence was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Records show he was incarcerated since late December on a second-degree arson charge and held on a $30,000 bond.
Richardson said his son spent much of his youth in Athens, adding that he taught his son to be a man of God and learn from his mistakes.
The Fulton County Jail confirmed Wednesday morning that the person who died was Lawrence. They say Lawrence was found unresponsive in his cell at approximately 4:20 p.m. during dinner rounds and was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
A funeral is being held Sept. 5 for Lawrence in the chapel at Watts Funeral Home in Union City.