$4.8M Settlement Reached Over Man 'Shot in the Face'

Julian Lewis was killed by a Georgia state trooper
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2020 10:40 AM CDT
Updated Apr 4, 2022 12:04 AM CDT
Trooper Charged With Murder Over Man 'Shot in the Face'
In this undated photo released by the Georgia Department of Public Safety, State trooper Jacob Gordon Thompson is seen in an official portrait.   (Georgia Department of Public Safety via AP)

(Newser) Update: The family of a Black man fatally shot by a Georgia state trooper in 2020 will receive a $4.8 million settlement from the state. A lawyer for Julian Lewis' family says the settlement was reached last month before a lawsuit was filed, the New York Times reports. The white trooper who fired the shot was charged following Lewis' death, but the prosecution stalled after a grand jury declined to indict him last June. A family lawyer says the settlement is just one step, and that Lewis' family wants to "continue to push for the criminal responsibility." They are also pushing the district attorney to release police video of the incident. "Taxpayers should know why the state settled this case for nearly $5 million," the attorney says. Our original story from Aug. 15, 2020, follows:

A Georgia state trooper was fired and charged with murder Friday a week after he shot a 60-year-old man who tried to flee a rural traffic stop, authorities said. The president of Georgia's NAACP chapter called the slaying of Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis another chilling example of a Black man being killed unlawfully by a white law enforcement officer, the AP reports. An attorney for Lewis' family said the trooper initiated the traffic stop over a burned-out tail light and Lewis was shot almost immediately after the trooper forced his car into a ditch. "Mr. Lewis never got out of the vehicle and the investigation will show that, mere seconds after the crash, he was shot to death, shot in the face and killed," attorney Francys Johnson said.

Johnson said that information was given to the family by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which arrested 27-year-old Jacob Gordon Thompson on charges of felony murder and aggravated assault Friday. The agency did not include those details in its own statement on Thompson's arrest. The GBI said Lewis was fatally shot Aug. 7 after a chase in rural Screven County, about 60 miles northwest of Savannah. The Georgia Department of Public Safety said it fired Thompson after he was charged Friday. He had been a trooper for the Georgia State Patrol since 2013. Thompson's attorney, Keith Barber, declined to comment on specifics of the case, but said he believes the former trooper "has an excellent character" and "will be exonerated in this case."

(Read more police shooting stories.)

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