Questions have surrounded the death of Mathew Ajibade Ever since he was found unresponsive in the jail back in January, Mathew Ajibade was arrested on January first after police received a call about a fight with his girlfriend. His family says his girlfriend pleaded with Metro Police officers to take him to the hospital — not the jail. They said he was suffering from a bipolar manic episode.
On January 2nd Ajibade was found dead in an isolation cell at the Chatham County Detention Center. On January 8th two Chatham County deputies were put on administrative leave in connection with the incident. May 8th nine deputies connected to the case were fired.
We have never had a cause of death in the case—until now. A death certificate leaked on social media this morning. It listed Ajibade’s death as a homicide caused by blunt force trauma suffered in a physical altercation with deputies. The Chatham County coroner confirmed to News 3 this afternoon that his finding was homicide based on the results of an autopsy conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He said the blunt force involved abrasions, small lacerations on Ajibade’s upper body and blood inside the skull case. The coroner says none of those injuries alone would have been enough to cause death – but he believes that together they did.
The death certificate appeared on Facebook several hours before a news conference with the Chatham County Sheriff was announced…but those hoping to hear Al St. Lawrence comment on the case were disappointed. “I’m not at liberty to do that cause I have a commitment to the District Attorney who has the GBI report and the other reports and I told them that I would not release anything on that matter until they released their findings,” said St. Lawrence.
Local attorney Will Claiborne, who represents the Ajibade family – obtained a copy of the death certificate after being alerted to its existence by News 3 – he had no problem discussing it. “We have been asking since January for openness – we have been asking for transparency – you saw here today yet again – the sheriff refusing to provide information and I want to be clear that that refusal is not just to the news media and not just to the public – but that refusal is to the family, the mother, the father of the man who was killed and we now know murdered here at the jail,” said Claiborne.
There is a legal difference between homicide and murder – which generally has to do with intent. Claiborne says the family still needs answers, “The Sheriff’s Department is a public agency – they could put this matter to rest immediately by releasing the video of what happened. Apparently for at least two hours – Mathew was in a holding cell after apparently having sustained significant blunt force trauma – after apparently having been tased while in full restraints…they could simply just be humane and tell this family what happened to their son. If he was in a holding cell with blunt force trauma for two hours – why wasn’t he checked on? Why wasn’t the medical protocol out here followed that every fifteen minutes he was supposed to be checked on? We know he wasn’t checked on by anyone because an officer was fired for not having checked on him…at what point could his life have been saved?”
We did contact County officials for any reaction to Claiborne’s statements – they said “no comment.” the case is expected to go before a Chatham County Grand Jury later this month.