Feedback
Better

Bipolar Man’s Death Sparks Chatham County Jail Shakeup

The administrator of a Georgia jail where a young man died — allegedly after being Tasered and handcuffed to a restraint chair during a bipolar episode — has retired amid plans for an outside review of procedures.

The shakeup comes two weeks after nine Chatham County deputies were fired in connection with the January death of Mathew Ajibade in an isolation cell.

"The institution of these actions will not address all issues in a day, or even a week," Sheriff Al St. Lawrence said in a statement Tuesday.

"However, changes as necessary will be approached in a methodical manner to ensure citizens that the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office will continue to serve the community in accordance to the high professional standards I expect."

Ajibade's family said he was having a bipolar episode when he was arrested for hitting his girlfriend and breaking a deputy's nose — but that jail officials turned a blind eye to his psychiatric condition and left him restrained and unattended in a cell.

The family is being represented by Mark O'Mara, the attorney best known for defending George Zimmerman after he fatally shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The sheriff said that in the wake of Ajibade's death, Col. Thomas Gilberg has retired as the jail administrator and will be temporarily replaced by his deputy.

A team of three consultants will "review operational procedures from top to bottom" and suggest changes, St. Lawrence said.

IN-DEPTH