Family of Fulton County inmate who died in jail last year prepares to sue

Dept. of Justice investigating living conditions, use of force at Fulton County jail
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 3:38 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The family of a Fulton County Jail inmate who died in custody last year is preparing to file a potential lawsuit, according to a legal statement.

The family’s lawyers have announced a 30-day window for the county’s commissioners and sheriff to “address the situation appropriately” before the lawsuit is filed.

On Sept. 22, 2022, Dino Walker was reportedly stabbed to death by two other inmates after a detention officer left his post for almost an hour, the statement said. Video shows that the other inmates didn’t appear to be disturbed, “which further confirms the normalization of violence in the Fulton County Jail,” Davis Bozeman Johnson Law Firm claims. The law firm is representing Walker’s family.

In March, hundreds of homemade knives were found during a search of one-third of the jail’s housing, according to Attorney Harold W. Spence.

“Being a pretrial detainee, not yet convicted of any offense, should not consign an inmate to death or severe injury by knifing,” Spence said. “Lives, like Dino Walker’s, are at stake. Fulton County must do better.”

The family will hold a press conference on Thursday at 10 a.m. to discuss the possible legal action, joined by the Southern Center for Human Rights and civil rights nonprofit Color of Change.

It wouldn’t be the first action taken against Fulton County officials for an inmate’s death. In August, the family of a 19-year-old who died at the Atlanta City Detention Center days after her birthday filed a lawsuit claiming staff negligence. She was found alone in her cell with “no obvious signs of injury,” the sheriff’s office said.

RELATED COVERAGE: Family of 19-year-old woman who died in Atlanta jail files lawsuit, claims jail was negligent

“My child was arrested for a misdemeanor and died in jail,” the inmate’s mother said. “And we want answers.”

In July, the Department of Justice launched a civil investigation into conditions at Fulton County Jail, including its structural safety, use of force and access to medical and mental health care.