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State of Georgia reaches settlement with widow of man killed by state officer

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State of Georgia reaches settlement with widow of man killed by state officer

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC/Gray News) — A law firm claims it has reached a $4.8 million settlement with the state of Georgia for the widow of a black man who was shot by a state police officer. It could be the largest settlement in the history of Georgia.

In 2020, Georgia State Patrol officer Jacob Gordon Thompson shot and killed 60-year-old Julian Lewis in Screven County after a police chase, WTOC reported. Thompson was fired from the GSP after the shooting. In 2021, a grand jury in the case returned no bill, meaning it did not recommend indictments against the defendant.

According to the law firm of Hall & Lampros, while the settlement does not bring Lewis back, it sends a strong message to the state, law enforcement and others in power that the needless use of force against innocent citizens is unlawful, morally corrupt and carries legal consequences.

Lawyer Andrew Lampros is part of Lewis’ widow’s legal team. He says the $4.8 million settlement reflects the scale of the shooting.

“Mr. Lewis’ case is now attracting attention because of the magnitude of the settlement, when he should have received attention for what happened to him,” he said. “The facts of the case are egregious. He would never have stopped let alone shot him may be.”

Lampros says he and the Lewis family are aware that federal prosecutors are reviewing the matter and could possibly bring forward a federal case similar to the Ahmaud Arbery case in Brunswick, Georgia. He says he and his family members are also in contact with Screven County prosecutors and they are awaiting further progress on the state case.

Prosecutors can only bring a case like this before a new grand jury one more time, and there is no time limit on when they must do so. District Attorney Daphne Totten said last year that her office would review this case to see what they were doing.

Below are statements from attorney Francys Johnson and Lewis’ son Brook Bacon:

“This settlement is further evidence that Georgia recognizes the wrongs done to my father, Julian Lewis. My dad deserved to survive his encounter with ex-Georgia State Patrol Jacob Gordon Thompson on August 7th, 2020. This is another step towards accountability, but we will not rest until his killer is behind bars,” said Brook Bacon, son of Julian Lewis.

“The state’s case still rests with District Attorney Daphne Totten of the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit. The idea that something horribly wrong happened on this dusty dirt road, and not at the hands of ex-soldier Jacob Gordon Thompson, is simply unbelievable. Citizens should see the video evidence in this case and they will have a clear understanding of why the state of Georgia paid $4.8 million to resolve the civil suit,” said Francys Johnson, a Statesboro-based partner of Davis Bozeman Johnson Law and attorney for Julian Lewis’ son Brook Bacon.

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