Matthew Ajibade

Matthew Ajibade, a 22-year-old Nigerian native who was in the U.S. studying computer science at Savannah Technical College, died last week in a Georgia holding cell while he was in police custody. Two sheriff’s deputies have been placed on administrative leave without pay until the investigation into Ajibade’s death is concluded, CNN reports.

Ajibade was arrested Jan. 1 on charges of assaulting his girlfriend. She reportedly told arriving officers that Ajibade had mental-health issues and tried to show the cops the medication Ajibade was taking.

Ajibade became combative with the arresting officers and was subsequently “accused of domestic violence, battery and obstruction of an officer,” CNN reports.

During the booking process, Ajibade became combative again, injuring three deputies, “including a female sergeant who suffered a concussion and broken nose,” according to the report. The female sergeant is currently on medical leave as a result of the injuries she suffered in the reported attack.

Authorities said that Ajibade was moved to an “isolation cell” because of the incident, and that when an officer went to check on him for a second time, Ajibade was found to be nonresponsive. Jail officials administered first aid and CPR, to no avail. The cause of death is unknown pending toxicology reports, according to CNN.


Ajibade’s family has hired attorney Mark O’Mara—the defense attorney who represented George Zimmerman in the widely publicized murder trial in the fatal shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. O’Mara said that Ajibade had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and “was having a medical emergency at the time of his arrest and confinement.”

The two sheriff’s deputies who were placed on administrative leave were not among those who were involved in the scuffle that occurred during Ajibade’s booking.

Read more at CNN.