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Family of Julian Lewis to file suit against state of Georgia for his death

Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 10:29 PM EST
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SCREVEN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The family of a man shot and killed by a Georgia state trooper in Screven County may now sue the state.

You may remember the shooting death of 60-year-old Julian Lewis on Aug. 7 in Sylvania after a car chase between Lewis and Trooper Jacob Thompson. Thompson said he was trying to stop Lewis for a broken tail light and Lewis would not stop his car.

In the Georgia State Patrol incident report, Thompson noted that he decided to perform a PIT maneuver to safely end the pursuit. The crash caused Lewis’ car to end up in a ditch and both cars parallel to each other.

From left: Julian Lewis and Jacob Thompson
From left: Julian Lewis and Jacob Thompson(WRDW)

Thompson claimed Lewis tried to use his vehicle to injure and that’s when Thompson fired his weapon. The GBI determined from the dash cam video that approximately one second after Thompson took his foot of the brake, a shot was fired.

Thompson is facing felony murder charges.

On Monday, attorneys representing Lewis’ family submitted paperwork in federal court putting the State of Georgia on notice that unless certain demands are met, they will sue the state for Lewis’ death.

Lawyers for the Lewis family say the state has 30 days to respond to their demands, or they’ll move forward with the lawsuit.

“Julian Lewis should be alive today,” said Francys Jonson, Lewis family attorney. “Julian Lewis should be with his family preparing for a COVID-safe Thanksgiving.”

Under the claim filed Monday, the Lewis family is demanding $1 million, with an additional filing calling for $12 million on top of that for his death and what they say was a violation of his civil rights.

“The money will not bring my husband back,” said Betty Lewis, Julian Lewis’ widow. “No amount of money will bring him back. I loved my husband, he’s not here. But justice will be served.”

“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 just about to take me away from here.”

The family’s attorneys say they believe the facts of the case against ex-Georgia State Patrol Trooper Jacob Thompson are clear enough that the state should be willing to settle.

“Went beyond the scope of his job, beyond his duties and beyond the law,” said Johnson.

“Something as blatant as this, we would expect the state to step up and to address this without us having to file a lawsuit. That’s what our hope is,” said Lewis family attorney Mawuli Davis.

Also happening Monday, Jacob Thompson asked a judge to reconsider granting bond after it was initially denied in August. We’re told the judge has not made a decision on the matter yet.