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Black Student Dies in Jail and a District Attorney is Trying To Block An Investigation by Media

Mathew Ajibade may be the next Freddie Gray.
Mathew Ajibade may be the next Freddie Gray.
By Kate Briquelet
Nigerian-born Mathew Ajibade died from blunt-force trauma in a jail cell this year—and the D.A. is trying to stop local media from investigating the death.

On New Year’s Day, police came for Georgia college student Mathew Ajibade, a 21-year-old computer science major in the throes of a bipolar disorder episode. His girlfriend called 911 and tried to get deputies to take him to the hospital.

Instead, Ajibade was carted to jail on a domestic violence charge. Chatham County sheriff’s deputies say he attacked officers—giving one female sergeant a concussion and broken nose.

The Nigerian-born student was put in isolation, then stunned with a Taser gun while restrained, authorities say. He was later found dead, still strapped to a chair. His family is still seeking answers on what exactly happened that day in his Savannah cell.

Now, with the case in the national spotlight, district attorney Meg Heap is requesting a gag order on Ajibade’s relatives and attorneys. She’s also a plaintiff in a lawsuit—along with the county sheriff—to stop local TV station WSAV from obtaining video and public records on Ajibade’s detention, court records show.

The sheriff’s department and DA’s office declined to comment on Ajibade’s case. The county attorney did not return messages left by The Daily Beast.

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