Chatham County Teen Michael Ajibade’s Death Ruled a Homicide as Officials Remain Eerily Quiet

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14363417In recent months, police officers have been heavily criticized for the way they treat two types of suspects—Black suspects and those with mental illnesses.

Back in January, Georgia officers allegedly killed a suspect who checked off both boxes.

But it wasn’t until Thursday that the public discovered that a Chatham County coroner ruled Michael Ajibade’s death a homicide.

The 21-year-old Nigerian student was discovered unresponsive in an isolation jail cell in Savannah following his arrest on domestic violence charges.

The death managed to stay clear of any major national headlines but Thursday’s announcement changed that very quickly as murky details surrounding the case started to emerge and spread on social media.

In fact, that’s how Ajibade’s parents even found out about the coroner’s findings. Rather than being notified privately, the young man’s parents stumbled across Ajibade’s death certificate on social media, the family’s lawyer said, according to CNN.

The cause of Ajibade’s death was listed as “blunt force trauma, which was really a combination of several things that were enumerated in his autopsy report by the GBI,” according to the coroner’s statement.

The  statement said Ajibade had “abrasions, lacerations, skin injuries about the head” and other injuries on other parts of his body. Perhaps one of the most disconcerting injuries was the presence of blood inside his skull case.

So far, nine Chatham County deputies were fired as a result of Ajibade’s death, but they were fired last month—more than four months after the Savannah College of Art and Design student’s death.

The sheriff’s office explained in an incident report that the suspect was “combative during the booking process” but loved ones believe he was having a manic episode as a result of his bipolar disorder.

A woman who identified herself as Ajibade’s girlfriend told the officers about his mental illness and even gave the officers his prescription medicine.

“I’m sure he was flailing,” said Mark O’Mara, the Florida attorney who once represented George Zimmerman but is now representing Ajibade’s family. “They got control of him and beat the [expletive] out of him to get control of him.”

O’Mara is calling for “absolute transparency” from law enforcement but has already received quit a bit of pushback.

When the sheriff held a news conference on Thursday to discuss jail operations, he bluntly told reporters that he was “not going to discuss the Ajibade case.”

City officials have remained relatively quiet on the case and but the sheriff’s office has requested that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation launch an independent investigation into the case.

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