Georgia State Patrol trooper charged with murder after shooting a Black man

Patrick Swanson / August 14,2020

A Georgia State Patrol trooper has been arrested and charged with felony murder after fatally shooting a Black man during an attempted traffic stop.

Jacob Gordon Thompson, 27, was arrested on Friday in connection with the fatal officer involved shooting in Screven County that occurred on August 7, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said in a news release.

Thompson attempted to stop Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis, 60, for a traffic-related offense. When he refused to stop, Thompson gave a brief chase before using a “precision Intervention technique,” sending the car to a stop in a ditch, according to the GBI.

Thompson then fired one shot, striking Lewis in the face. He was pronounced dead on the scene. An autopsy is being conducted at the GBI Crime Lab, according to the release.

Thompson will be booked into the Screven County Jail, the GBI release said. He has been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault and was terminated from the Department of Public Safety.

CNN has not been able to determine if Thompson has an attorney.

FBI Atlanta public affairs specialist Kevin Rowson told CNN in an emailed statement Saturday that they are in contact with local and state authorities.

“The FBI is aware of the Screven County matter and we have been in contact with local and state authorities. The FBI is always prepared to investigate whenever information comes to light of a potential federal violation,” Rowson said.

Francys Johnson, the attorney representing the Lewis family, issued a statement Friday.

“The unprecedented pace of the investigation is a direct result of years of activism on these issues along with a sea-change in law enforcement leadership at the top of the GBI,” Johnson said. “This was not business as usual.

“The GBI and now the FBI who have launched a separate civil rights investigation have done what was right at this stage. I rarely get to say that.”

Georgia’s NAACP chapter declared a state of emergency in Georgia “with respect to the never ending acts of police violence that regularly and consistently put our communities in danger,” according to a news release. The NAACP on Tuesday had called for criminal charges to be filed against Thompson and for a civil rights investigation by the United States Department of Justice.

“I want justice for Julian. He was too good to die as he did. This is one step towards justice,” Lewis’s widow, Betty Lewis, said in the statement released by Johnson.

Lewis was remembered at a candlelight vigil Friday night in front of Sylvania City Hall.

“My husband was somebody’s father, somebody’s son, somebody’s nephew, brother and he’s gone by the hands of a murderer,” Betty Lewis said.

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