Jacob G. Thompson, 27, was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in connection to the incident in Screven County
A Georgia judge has denied bond for a former Georgia State Patrol trooper accused of murder in the August shooting death of a 60-year-old Black man who refused to stop for a broken tail light.
Screven County Judge F. Gates Peed on Friday ruled that it ‘would be inappropriate’ to grant bond at the moment for Jacob Gordon Thompson, given the facts of the case.
Thompson, who is white, attempted to stop a Nissan Sentra driven by Julian Lewis on August 7 that had been driving on Stoney Pond Road with a broken tail light at around 9:20pm.
Lewis refused to stop and the two engaged in a brief chase down several county roads. Reports indicate that Thompson used a Precision Intervention Technique (PIT) and forced Lewis’ car into a ditch.
The officer then fired one round at Lewis, fatally striking him in the head.
On August 7, Thompson fatally shot 60-year-old Julian Lewis after trying to stop him for a broken tail light on Stoney Pond Road at around 9.20pm
In an incident report obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Thompson wrote that he shot Lewis in the forehead because he thought that the man was going to run him over.
‘At some point, I heard the engine on the violator’s vehicle revving at a high rate of speed,’ he stated.
‘I saw him wrenching the steering wheel in an aggressive back and forth manner towards me and my patrol vehicle. 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.’
Thompson was arrested a week later on a charge of felony murder and aggravated assault by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He remains in custody at the Screven County Jail, near the state’s South Carolina border.
Attorney Francys Johnson, who is representing the Lewis family, said that Peed’s denial of bond for Thompson is a positive sign for the current movement for racial equality in American policing.
‘The unprecedented pace of the investigation is a direct result of years of activism on these issues along with a sea-change in law enforcement leadership at the top of the GBI,’ Johnson said in a statement Friday. ‘This case is not proceeding as business as usual.’
Thompson was arrested a week later on a charge of felony murder and aggravated assault by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He remains in custody at the Screven County Jail, near the state’s South Carolina border
The incident report Thompson filed says he spotted a Nissan Sentra driving with a broken tail light at about 9pm. and turned on his lights to initiate a traffic stop in rural Screven County.
He said the driver flashed both his turn signals and motioned with a hand outside his window but made no effort to stop.
Thompson wrote that he followed the car at speeds up to 65 mph until the vehicle rolled through a stop sign.
The trooper then performed a maneuver that forced the car into a ditch. Thompson said he pulled alongside the vehicle and drew his gun as he got out of his cruiser.
The trooper’s bullet hit Lewis in the forehead. Thompson wrote that he tried to render first aid until paramedics arrived.
Attorney Francys Johnson said he learned Friday that the U.S. Department of Justice had approved his request for the civil rights investigation into the incident.
‘We got lots of messages from people in the community that the habit of ex-trooper Thompson was to racially profile and harass Black and brown people on the highway,’ Johnson, former head of the Georgia NAACP, said. ‘This was not shocking to them that this happened.’