An agent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation claimed dash camera footage contradicts an account given by a former Georgia State Trooper who fatally shot a Black man in August.
Julian Lewis, 60, died on Aug. 7 after former Georgia State Trooper Jacob Thompson ran him into a ditch and shot him in the head in rural Screven County, according to The Associated Press. The incident occurred after Thompson attempted to pull Lewis over because he had a broken taillight.
Lewis reportedly refused to stop his vehicle, so Thompson executed a maneuver that caused the car to run into a ditch. In an incident report, Thompson claims he shot Lewis because he was turning the steering wheel and the car’s engine was revving.
However, GBI Special Agent Dustin Peak cast doubt on that story with testimony given at Thompson’s pre-trial hearing on Monday, Sept. 28. Peak told the court the dive into the ditch caused the car’s battery to disconnect, which rendered the vehicle undrivable. Additionally, dash camera footage reportedly shows Thompson fired his weapon immediately after leaving his patrol car.
“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 told the judge Monday.
Francys Johnson, one of the lawyers representing Lewis’ family, called for the release of audio and video evidenced linked to the case during an event in Sylvania on Sept. 19. The attorney also addressed the leak of a GBI report that stated Lewis had drugs in his system at the time of his death. Toxicology results indicated he tested positive for cocaine, methamphetamine and Prozac, an anti-depressant.
“I am not certain as to the authenticity of this report, but I am absolutely clear that it changes nothing about the case or the appropriateness of the charges of felony murder and aggravated assault,” Johnson said, according to The August Chronicle. “I would urge you to ask the officer who leaked this report, if it is even real, to leak the video and audio of the murder of Julian Lewis.”
“Unless Jacob Gordon Thompson was clairvoyant, this report is immaterial to his action, given the predicate for the stop was a non-moving taillight violation,” he added.
Thompson is currently in jail without bond. The case now will be presented to a grand jury to obtain an indictment.