Police brutality has cost the state of Georgia nearly $5 million—all because a cop couldn’t put his fragile blue ego aside and understand that a short car chase doesn’t warrant the execution of a Black man.
According to 11 Alive, on Aug. 7, 2020, Julian Lewis was shot dead by Georgia state trooper Jacob Thompson following a chase in Screven County. Now, attorneys for Lewis’ widow, Betty Lewis, said Thompson had pulled Julian over for a broken taillight that wasn’t actually broken. The attorneys also said Lewis wasn’t attempting to run from the police, he was simply waiting until he felt safe enough to pull over.
“It is believed that Lewis was attempting to drive toward a more familiar area where he knew other people would be present—a practice commonly taught to people who may feel vulnerable in isolated areas where there is nobody else present to witness events,” lawyers with Hall & Lampros, LLP said in a statement. “Lewis activated his turn signals in both directions, which is often a sign of acknowledgment to an officer.”
Unfortunately, Black motorists often aren’t afforded the recognition of basic humanity that says we too get nervous, feel unsafe, and don’t immediately pull over for cops, not because we intend to flee, but because we’re waiting for surroundings that make us less anxious.
What we know for certain, according to a report by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, is that Thompson followed Lewis down several county roads before performing a PIT maneuver to stop Lewis’ vehicle. Thompson then “fired one round” and Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene. The GBI also said that “less than two seconds passed from the time the trooper opened the door” to the time he fired the shot that killed Lewis. Less. Than. Two. Seconds.
So why did Thompson feel so threatened that he felt the need to shoot? Well, according to the GBI report reviewed by Betty’s lawyers, he said he heard Lewis’ engine “revving at a high rate of speed” making him fear for his life.
For all these “blue lives matter” advocates talk about how brave and heroic police officers are, cops sure do seem to scare easy. An engine allegedly revs and Thompson’s first inclination was alleged murder. (Thompson is currently facing murder charges related to the incident, according to 11 Alive.)
Then there’s the question of why TF lewis was pulled over in the first place, because, according to the attorneys, the GBI investigation “proved that neither taillight on Lewis’s car was in a condition to justify probable cause for a stop and that the PIT maneuver caused Lewis’s battery cable and air filter to disengage—which completely disabled the engine in his Nissan Sentra, making it impossible to rev as the trooper stated in the incident report.”
Never take a cop’s word at face value. This can’t be emphasized enough.
The attorneys said there was no body camera footage and that they never received dashcam footage from the stop.
Betty has still yet to receive justice for her husband’s killing, but she has received what her attorneys called “the largest in Georgia history in state records dating back to 1990”—$4.8 million.
“Our hearts grieve for Betty Lewis, who lost her Golden Years with her husband because of unwarranted and unnecessary deadly force during what should have been a routine traffic stop,” Hall & Lampros co-founder Andrew Lampros said in a statement.
So, now we wait to see if Thompson is brought to justice.