Family of unarmed Black man killed by state trooper reacts to his release

The son of Julian Lewis said he is disappointed but not surprised by the release of former Georgia State Patrol Trooper Jacob Thompson.

Thompson was charged with felony murder and aggravated assault after shooting Lewis during an Aug. 7 traffic stop. He was released from jail Monday on a $100,000 bond as he awaits trial.

“That is not justice,” Lewis’ son, Brook Bacon, said in a virtual news conference on Monday. “But, we will stay diligent and press forward."

On the night of Lewis’ death, Thompson was on duty in Screven County when he tried to pull Lewis over for a broken taillight.

Jacob Gordon Thompson (Georgia State Patrol)

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According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Lewis did not pull over and a low-speed chase ensued. The investigation found that Thompson used a PIT maneuver to force Lewis to crash. As soon as the trooper got out of the car, the family’s attorney said Thompson instantly shot Lewis in the face as he sat in the driver’s seat. Lewis was unarmed.

His son said his father’s accused killers’ release is indicative of a larger pattern.

"It does seem to fall in line with the trends we're seeing where officers are not being held fully accountable and being released on bond,” Bacon said. “So there was no surprise there but the outcome should have reflected justice and having him stay in place behind bars until his day in court. That's what should have happened."

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The judge ordered that while Thompson awaits trial as a free man, he must get a job. He also cannot leave a four-county radius, own guns, or come into contact with anyone in Lewis’ family, or any potential witnesses in the case, including other troopers.

The Lewis family filed paperwork intending to sue the state of Georgia in federal court over Lewis’ death and civil rights violations. The state has 30 days to respond before the lawsuit can move forward.

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