SCREVEN COUNTY, Ga. – On Monday, a Screven Country Grand Jury decided not to indict former Georgia State Trooper Jacob Thompson for the killing of Julian Lewis.
On Aug. 7, 2020 Thompson reportedly tried to pull Lewis over for a broken taillight, but he refused to stop his car, prompting a brief short-speed pursuit. The trooper eventually forced Lewis’ car into a ditch. According to Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), Thompson then shot Lewis in the head within two seconds of leaving his patrol vehicle. The former State Trooper claimed he heard the engine revving up and thought Lewis would attempt to run him over.
The GBI charged Thompson with murder after their investigation determined that Thompson was not legally justified in the shooting of Lewis. The GBI’s investigation concluded that Thompson should be charged based on the reason Thompson said he shot Lewis. Thompson claimed he shot Lewis because he was attempting to hit him with his car. However, an expert testing Lewis’ car determined it was inoperable and incapable of being used to harm the former State Trooper.
During a pre-trial court hearing in September, GBI Special Agent Dustin Peak revealed his belief that the dashcam video contradicted Thompson’s reason for shooting Julian Lewis.
“We determined that approximately one second after Trooper Thompson took his foot off the brake of his patrol vehicle, there was one shot that was fired,” Peak said, noting Lewis was unable to move because the crash disconnected his car’s battery.
Attorney Francys Johnson, who represents Lewis’ family, says the GBI determined Thompson fired his gun two seconds after leaving his patrol car. He added that Judge Gates Peed agreed with the GBI’s conclusion that there was enough evidence to take Thompson to trial on murder charges, but a grand jury must indict.
“Notably, during the subsequent preliminary hearing the lead GBI Agent also testified that Thompson could not have feared harm from Lewis’ inoperable vehicle as only one second in time elapsed from when Thompson took his foot off the brake of his patrol car, emerged from his vehicle, unholstered his weapon, pointed it at Lewis, and fired, fatally striking the unarmed Lewis in the forehead. Today, however, when presented with the same evidence previously considered by the GBI and Judge Peed, a Screven County Grand Jury chose not to indict Thompson on any charges,” Johnson said.
Family members of Lewis say the grand jury ignored the evidence presented.
Julian Lewis’ son, Brook Bacon responded, “I am shocked and in disbelief. What the Grand Jury did today was worse than what Jacob Gordon Thompson did when he shot my father in the head. It was murder when Thompson killed my father. But what this District Attorney and Grand Jury have killed is any belief Black people can have in this Justice System.”
“I feel like if he took my son away from me, we need some justice on this. He needs to do some time or something,” said Lindsay Milton, Lewis’ mother.
Meanwhile, the family says they’re not giving up.
“We’re going to push it and push it until we can’t push no more,” said Milton.