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Family of Ga. Man Who Died in Police Custody Wants an Independent Prosecutor

Matthew Ajibade
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Matthew Ajibade
YouTube

The family of Matthew Ajibade is frustrated with getting few answers about his death in police custody at a Chatham County, Ga., jail. It’s now asking a judge to remove the county’s district attorney, Meg Heap, and appoint an independent prosecutor, Fox 6 WBRC reports.

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In the conflict-of-interest complaint, the family alleges that Heap’s relationships with the county’s law-enforcement officials are hindering her investigation. Those close associations are causing her to release few details about Ajibade’s death, stall the probe and harm the family’s chance of getting a fair trial, the document states, according to Fox News.

This comes on the heels of a local coroner’s ruling that Ajibade’s death was a homicide by blunt-force trauma.

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The police arrested the former Savannah College of Art and Design student Jan. 1 after a domestic altercation with his girlfriend. She reportedly told the officers that Ajibade had bipolar disorder and gave them his medication. According to the police, he became combative once they arrived at the jail, so they restrained him in an isolated cell. He was later found dead there.

The sheriff’s office fired nine deputies who were present when Ajibade died. And Heap announced plans to take the case to a grand jury. But his family’s lawyers say that doesn’t go far enough.

“You don’t just punish the infantry men who fired the fatal shot; you punish the general who made the call,” said the Ajibade family’s lawyer, Will Claiborne, according to Fox News. “If the sheriff had a culture of violence in his jail, then he needs to be the subject of an investigation, and it appears to me that due to personal relationships and political relationships, the DA is choosing not to engage in that type of investigation.”

Fox News reports that Heap issued a statement declining to respond to questions about the complaint. She pointed to Georgia’s professional rules of conduct for attorneys. But she plans to file a formal objection to the complaint in the courts.

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Read more at Fox 6 WBRC

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