Killing of Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis
|Date||August 7, 2020|
|Location||Screven County, Georgia, US|
|Suspects||Jacob Gordon Thompson|
|Charges||Felony murder, aggravated assault|
On August 7, 2020, Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis, a 60-year-old Black American carpenter, was fatally shot by white Georgia State Patrol officer Jacob Gordon Thompson, on a rural road in Screven County, Georgia. Thompson attempted to stop Lewis for driving a vehicle with a broken tail light. When Lewis failed to stop, Thompson performed a PIT maneuver to force Lewis's car into a ditch and shot Lewis once in the face. On August 14, Thompson was charged with felony murder.
According to a Georgia State Patrol (GSP) report, around 9 p.m. on Friday, August 7, 2020, Thompson attempted to stop Lewis's Nissan Sentra for a broken taillight on Stoney Pond Road near Sylvania, Georgia, in a rural part of Screven County about 60 miles northwest of Savannah. According to a Lewis family attorney, Lewis had gone to a convenience store to buy a grape soda for his wife and was on his way home at the time. Lewis did not stop and Thompson briefly chased Lewis down several rural roads. Thompson forced Lewis's car to stop in a ditch using a "precision intervention technique" or "PIT maneuver".
According to Thompson's report of the incident, after Lewis's vehicle stopped, Thompson pulled up alongside and drew his handgun as he exited. Lewis revved his car's engine and Thompson activated the light on his gun. Thompson saw Lewis with both hands on the steering wheel, "wrenching the steering wheel in an aggressive back-and-forth manner towards me and my patrol vehicle." Thompson wrote that Lewis "was trying to use his vehicle to injure me" and that, "Being in fear for my life and safety, I discharged my weapon once." According to prosecutors, Thompson fired one shot "at some point", striking Lewis in the face and killing him. According to an attorney for Lewis's family, Thompson shot Lewis "almost immediately" after the PIT maneuver.
According to their attorney, Lewis's family did not learn about his whereabouts or death until around 1 a.m. the next day.
According to the Associated Press, Thompson "was charged amid a national outcry over racial injustice" after the recent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks. Lewis's family attorney described the decision to fire and arrest Thompson only a week after Lewis's death as a surprise, which he believed was a direct result of protests surrounding the police killings of Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier in 2020. The Georgia NAACP described the killing as "a case of racial profiling".
- Holli Deal, Saxon (August 25, 2020). "GBI: Video disputes former trooper's account in fatal shooting". Statesboro Herald. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
- Bynum, Russ (August 14, 2020). "Georgia trooper charged with murder in traffic stop shooting". Associated Press. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
- Elassar, Alaa; Silverman, Hollie (August 15, 2020). "Georgia State Patrol trooper charged with murder after shooting a Black man". CNN. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
- Autry, Enoch (August 15, 2020). "Georgia trooper charged with murder in shooting of Black man. 'He was a kind soul,' widow says at vigil". USA Today. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
- Waller, Allyson (August 15, 2020). "Georgia Trooper Is Charged in Fatal Shooting of Black Driver". The New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
- GBI press release
- Statement by Lewis family attorney
- Statement by Georgia NAACP
- Hansen, Zachary; Sharpe, Joshua (August 14, 2020). "Civil rights probe launched after Ga. trooper charged with murder, attorney says". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 16, 2020.