The widow of Julian E. Lewis has been awarded $4.8 in a settlement two years after her husband was fatally shot by a Georgia State Trooper.
The settlement is the largest in Georgia state records dating back to 1990 and exceeds the statutory maximum provided under the Georgia Tort Claims Act, according to Hall & Lampros, the law firm representing Betty Lewis.
“This settlement is further proof that Georgia recognizes the wrongs committed against my father, Lewis’s son Brook Bacon said.
“My father deserved to survive his encounter with ex-Georgia State Patrol Jacob Gordon Thompson on August 7, 2020. This is another step toward accountability but we will not rest until his killer is behind bars.”
Lewis was shot and killed after Jacob Gordon Thompson pulled him over for a broken taillight, WRDW reported. He was on his way to the grocery store to buy some soda for his wife when Thompson indicated for Lewis to pull over. He then crashed into Lewis’ Nissan Sentra with enough force to spin Lewis’ car in the opposite direction.
The trooper’s incident report claimed Thompson heard the engine on Lewis’ vehicle “revving at a high rate of speed” which made the officer fear for his life and fire the fatal shots.
According to testimony from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, it was less than two seconds from the time Thompson opened Lewis’s car door that he fired the shot that instantly killed the 60-year-old.
“The logical conclusion that I come to is that this is a tragic ending to a ‘driving while black’ scenario,” Akil Secret, Betty Lewis’s attorney, said.
Georgia officials refused to release dashcam video footage of the incident, and the trooper wasn’t wearing a body camera, WJBF reported. Thompson was fired after the incident and charged with assault and felony murder. However, a grand jury failed to indict him.
“While the record-making settlement does not bring back her husband for widow Betty Lewis and other family and loved ones, it sends a powerful message to the State and those in law enforcement and other positions of power that unnecessary use of force against innocent citizens is unlawful, morally corrupt, and carries legal consequences,” Hall & Lampros said in a statement