Lewis’ wife Betty Lewis told local news outlets that his death was “devastating” at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.
“The money won’t bring my husband back; no amount of money will bring him back,” she said. “I loved my husband. He is not here. But justice is served.”
The criminal trial awaits the grand jury’s lawsuit, but Lewis’ family is demanding $ 1 million in damages, the highest amount allowed under state law. The family also plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit claiming an additional $ 12 million.
Thompson wrote in his incident report that he shot Lewis when Lewis cranked up his engine and turned his steering wheel as if trying to ram the soldier. But Dustin Peak, agent for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, testified in September that it was impossible because Lewis’ car battery was pinched in the ditch on impact and the vehicle became inoperable.
Peak testified that the dash camera video showed that a second passed between the soldier stepping out of his patrol vehicle and the firing of the shot that killed Lewis.
The agent also testified that Thompson’s report was inconsistent with the dash camera video and that the angle of the single bullet fired by Thompson that hit Lewis in the forehead “inconsistent with Thompson’s statement in reports.”
“Julian Lewis should be alive today,” said Francys Johnson, a lawyer for the Lewis family, on Monday.
Johnson asked the state to pay a settlement without waiting for the lawsuit to be filed.
“Julian Lewis was my only son and this young man took my only son away from me,” said Lewis’ mother Lindsay Milton. “And it’s in the process of getting me out of here.”