January 16, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Savannah, GA – Matt Ajibade, a 22-year-old college student who also suffered from bipolar disorder, died in the Chatham County Jail on New Years Day under mysterious circumstances.
Ajibade’s girlfriend called 911 on January 1st to request assistance in getting Matt, who was experiencing a manic episode brought on by his bipolar disorder, to the hospital. Police arrived to find Matt and his girlfriend standing in the parking lot of a gas station located across the street from the apartment the couple shared together. According to the police report, the girlfriend was wrapped in a white sheet and was bloodied and bruised. After a 25 minute conversation with police, Ajibade was taken to jail in lieu of the emergency room despite the girlfriend’s request. There was no mention of bipolar disorder or a request to take Ajibade to a hospital in the officer’s report, although it does mention that a bottle of Divalproex (a medication used to treat bipolar disorder) was given to the officers by the girlfriend.
After arriving at the station, Ajibade was calm and unbound from handcuffs according to deputies. While being booked, he became aggressive with police and a female officer was struck by Ajibade during the altercation according to the sheriff’s office. The department states that the policewoman suffered a broken nose and a concussion in the incident. Matt, who had no criminal record in Chatham County before his arrest, was then shoved and strapped into a restraining chair by officers and moved into an isolation cell.
A deputy discovered Matt dead – still strapped to the chair.
Chatham County has not disclosed how much time had lapsed from the time he was placed in the cell and when his lifeless body was discovered or whether Matt received any medical attention.
Ajibade was being charged with one count of domestic violence battery and one count of obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
Two officers, Cpl. Maxine Evans and Cpl. Jason Kenny have been suspended in relation to the incident due to “inappropriate actions”. Although the sheriff’s department has declined to specify what those “actions” were, multiple sources close to the investigation are citing that a taser was involved.
An ongoing examination of events is now being pursued by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who has classified the case as a “use of force investigation.”
The family of the deceased has hired CNN Legal Analyst Mark O’Mara, who is most noted for representing George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, as their legal counsel.
O’Mara issued the following statement to Savannah press regarding the progress of the investigation.
“The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has made an important first step in suspending two officers who interacted with Mathew Ajibade the night of his death, but it is only a first step. A young man is dead, and he shouldn’t be. The family deserves to know why as soon as possible, and we expect the Chatham County Sheriff’s office will be forthcoming, transparent, and expedient in releasing information about this case.”
The legal analyst also stated that
“Matt was going places, and they were good places. We need to know why he’s never going to get there.”
The GBI will not say if the autopsy showed signs of trauma but expects to release an official cause of death along with the autopsy results by the end of the month.
Matt, who was born in Nigeria but grew up in Riverdale, Maryland moved to Savannah, Georgia in 2012. He was pursuing a degree in computer science at Savannah Technical College as well as working his way through school as a bank teller at Wells Fargo. The young professional also owned a print design company called Afridale, shot fashion photography as a hobby and professionally, and was in the process of designing an app. The 22-year-old had also planned on founding an organization called Made in Africa later this year.
Family and friends of Matt have established a fundraiser selling t-shirts to help with funeral costs. That fundraiser can be found here.
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