Lewis’ family lists three things they want to see happen next after former trooper not indicted
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - We’re hearing from the family of Julian Lewis after a Screven County grand jury decided not to charge the trooper that shot him to death.
Georgia State Patrol fired that trooper, Jake Thompson, after he shot and killed Julian Lewis following a police chase in August of last year. Thompson was charged with murder and aggravated assault after being arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The family’s attorneys say decisions like the one from Monday’s grand jury that, “is why so many people have no faith in the criminal justice system.”
“I know that so many of our ancestors have been reminded of - that is, that is the promise that there is justice even beyond this system. There’s an ultimate justice that one day, even as the prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 44, that every valley shall be exalted, the hills and mountains will be brought low and the rough places will be made smooth and the crooked places will be made straight - this is a crooked place. This is a crooked place. You can doctor it up. You can pretty it up. You can make it up as all as you want about God shedding His grace on thee - but this is a crooked place,” said family attorney Francys Johnson.
The family says they feel let down.
“He needs to do some time or something for taking my child’s life. He didn’t have to do what he did to my child, but he did it,” said Lindsay Milton, Lewis’ mother.
At least 12 of the 22 grand jurors needed to agree to indict Thompson on the charges he faced.
“What we saw was essentially a group of citizens say that the GBI was wrong, that the superior court judge who determined that there was probable cause, that he was wrong. And they took it upon themselves to say that there was no probable cause,” said Mawuli Davis, attorney representing Julian Lewis’ family.
Johnson says they don’t believe that the decision was unanimous and that there was disagreement among grand jurors.
“We understand that there were members of this grand jury who seemed convinced from the very beginning that they had a duty, if they were going to back the blue, to set Jacob Gordon Thompson free,” said Johnson.
Johnson says the family wants first-term District Attorney Daphne Totten to do three things. The first is to show family the video evidence shown to the grand jury.
“It has not been shown to Julian’s mother, or his wife or his attorney,” said Johnson.
The family also wants to meet with DA Totten, which they say hasn’t happened at this point. The third request, is for Totten to empanel a special grand jury to reconsider the case against Thompson.
“As you promised this family and you took an oath to do, prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law. The law gives you another opportunity to make a presentation, and we expect you to do so,” said Johnson.
The attorneys say they would also like to see the federal government get involved in the prosecution of this case.
Thompson’s future in law enforcement
As for Jacob Thompson’s future in law enforcement, WTOC checked on the status of his police office certification in Georgia.
As of Tuesday, his police certification remains suspended. That’s according to the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
The agency, known as POST, trains and certifies law enforcement in the state. POST certification is required for someone to work as a police officer in Georgia.
WTOC also confirmed that POST still has an active civil investigation into Thompson. The civil investigation has to do with Thompson’s conduct as a police officer. It was opened back on August 14, 2020 – a week after Thompson shot and killed Julian Lewis.
Tuesday afternoon, WTOC spoke to the executive director of POST who said the civil process cannot move forward until the pending criminal case is closed. He said POST is in the process of reaching out to the DA to determine what will happen next with the criminal case.
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