Georgia Man With Mental Illness Dies in Police Custody

Georgia Man With Mental Illness Dies in Police Custody

The family of Mathew Ajidabe, 22, of Savannah, Georgia, is seeking answers in his death on New Year's Day after police placed him in a restraining chair while he was having a manic episode, according to WSAV.com.

Published January 7, 2015

The family of Mathew Ajidabe is seeking answers in his death on New Year's Day after police placed him in a restraining chair while he was having a manic episode, according to WSAV.com

The 22-year-old, from Savannah, Georgia, had bipolar disorder and was at his girlfriend's house when the couple got into a fight. She called the police to take Ajidabe to the hospital. 

Instead, police took him to the Chatham County Detention Center where he was placed in a restraining chair after fighting them during his booking. It is legal for the police to use this tool. They checked on Ajidabe twice and then found him unresponsive. Police attempted to revive him, but were unsuccessful.

In their report, police did not mention that Ajidabe's girlfriend made a request to take him to the hospital. They did document that his girlfriend gave them prescription pills. Video surveillance is expected to provide more information on the chain of events at the detention center. 

Attorney Mark O'Mara, who represented George Zimmerman in the murder trial of Trayvon Martin, spoke on behalf of Ojibade's family at a press conference Tuesday. 

"Unfortunately this turned from helping, to an arrest pretty quickly and we want to know why — we want to know why the family's request that he be brought to the hospital — which seemed to be reasonable — were not heeded," O'Mara said, according to WSAV.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has opened an inquiry into the incident and is conducting an autopsy on Ajidabe's body.

To fundraise for Ajidabe's memorial and funeral expenses, the family is selling t-shirts that feature a design Ajidabe created for his Afridale clothing line that he was developing before his death. 


Follow Natelege Whaley on Twitter: @Natelege_.

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(Photo: Courtesy of O’Mara Law Group)

Written by Natelege Whaley

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