60-Year-Old Black Man Shot In Head By Georgia State Trooper On Way Home From Buying Wife Soda

White Georgia state trooper charged with murder after a 60-year-old black man was fatally shot during a traffic stop.

The incident happened at around 9 pm, on August 7, when the trooper stopped the elderly man over a broken tail light, UNILAD reports.

Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis, 60, from Sylvania, was reportedly out to get a grape soda for his wife. It was at this point when Jacob Gordon Thompson, 27, noticed the man’s vehicle and forced it into a ditch with his patrol car.

Shortly after pulling the 60-year-old man over, the Georgia trooper opened fire. According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Lewis was pronounced dead at the scene.

An attorney representing the family of Mr. Lewis explained he was no threat, as he was ‘just trying to make it home’ after going toa convenience store to buy his wife a grape soda, The New York Times reveals.

Furthermore, CNN reports that a police statement released by the Georgia Department of Public Safety claims that the 27-year-old officer saw Mr. Lewis aggressively wrenching his steering wheel towards him and his patrol vehicle. In his report concerning the scene, Thompson wrote:

“It appeared to me that the violator was trying to use his vehicle to injure me. Being in fear for my life and safety, I discharged my weapon once. After I fired, the violator sat back motionless.”

Although the 60-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene, his family wasn’t informed until 1 a.m. the following day.

Francys Johnson, the family’s attorney, said it was unclear whether the man was trying to flee after being pulled over, as there was no footage available from the incident. However, Johnson notes the lack of evidence is ‘strange considering the Georgia State Patrol’s website says it was the ‘first agency to equip all of its patrol cars with dash-mounted cameras’.

Julian Lewis was the victim of the 56th officer-involved shooting in Georgia.

Georgia’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) declared a ‘State of Emergency’, as this was the 56th time an officer was involved in a shooting in less than eight months.

Image credits: Georgia NAACP

Rev. James Woodall, State President of the association said in a statement:

“Increased levels of racial violence and police brutality have created a crisis that requires our urgent attention here in Georgia. Because of the scope of the problem, we are declaring a State of Emergency in Georgia.”

Following the fatal incident, the state trooper was fired for his ‘negligence or inefficiency in performing assigned duties; or commission of a felony’. Furthermore, Thompson was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault. He was later booked into Screven County Jail.

According to a report released by the family’s attorney, in response to the arrest, Mr. Lewis’ widow, Betty Lewis, said:

“I want justice for Julian. He was too good to die as he did. This is one step towards justice.” 

Mr. Lewis’s death comes in the wake of global outrage over the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery among many other victims of police brutality.

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