The state of Georgia will pay $4.8 million to the family of a 60-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a state trooper in 2020 during a traffic stop over a broken taillight. Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis, 60, was killed on Aug. 7, 2020, after trooper, Jacob Thompson, spotted him driving at night with a broken taillight, said the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Thompson, who is white, followed Lewis and tried to get him to pull over near Sylvania, Ga., 60 miles northwest of Savannah. Thompson used his patrol vehicle to force Lewis’s car to turn sideways into a ditch, the New York Times reports. As he got out of his patrol vehicle, the trooper drew his gun and fired at Lewis after it appeared that Mr. Lewis was trying to maneuver his car toward Thompson. Lewis was struck once and pronounced dead at the scene.
The law firm representing Lewis’s family, said that “it is believed” that Lewis had continued driving because he wanted to go to an area “where he knew other people would be present.” Francys Johnson, a lawyer for Lewis’s family, said that the settlement was only one step in the family’s effort to hold Thompson accountable. “The family has directed us to continue to push for the criminal responsibility, and we shall,” he said. Thompson was fired as a Georgia state trooper and charged with murder after the 2020 killing, but a grand jury declined to indict him.