In 2020, a routine traffic stop turned fatal when a 60-year-old Black man was shot and killed by a white cop. Now, the state of Georgia is dishing out a $4.8 million dollar settlement to the driver's family.
The victim, Julian Lewis, was spotted by Georgia state trooper Jacob Thompson for a broken tail light. Lewis neglected the cop’s signal to pull over, so the officer forced the black man’s vehicle into a ditch.
When Lewis was driving out of the ditch and towards the cop’s car, he was shot by Thompson and died instantly outside of Savannah, Georgia.
Lewis's family's law firm Hall & Lampros said in a statement that “it is believed” Lewis neglected the state trooper’s signal because he wanted to go “'where he knew other people would be present.”
Thompson was fired a week after the incident, but a grand jury failed to indict the cop for felony murder and aggravated assault in July 2021. Last summer, U.S. Attorney David Estes said federal prosecutors were looking into Lewis’ murder in conjunction with the FBI, but no updates have been given since.
According to The Daily Mail, the victim’s family has recently won $4.8 million dollars from the state of Georgia in a civil suit but still seeks justice through an indictment.
Brook Bacon, Lewis' son, said in a statement, "This settlement is further proof that Georgia recognizes the wrongs committed against my father, Julian Lewis."
"This is another step toward accountability but we will not rest until his killer is behind bars," he added.
The family's lawyer Andrew Lampros is pushing for Georgia officials to release the footage of Lewis’ murder in hopes of strengthening the case against Thompson.
"Citizens should see the video evidence in this case and they will have a clear understanding of why the State of Georgia paid 4.8 million dollars to resolve the civil case," Lampros said in a statement.
The ex-state trooper’s lawyer says Thompson was simply acting out of self-defense. However, Lampros notes that "this was a classic case of driving while black."
"That is all that Mr. Lewis, I believe, was guilty of," Lampros said.
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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
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