SYLVANIA, Ga. – Household, buddies and other people searching for social injustice reform gathered Friday night in downtown Sylvania for a candlelight vigil for Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis, who died from a Georgia State Patrol trooper’s single shot seven days earlier throughout a site visitors cease on a county dust highway.

Trooper Jacob Gordon Thompson, 27, was charged by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with felony homicide and aggravated assault three hours earlier than the beginning of the vigil for Lewis, a 60-year-old carpenter who was characterised by family members as a “nice caring man.”

The president of Georgia’s NAACP chapter known as the slaying of Lewis one other chilling instance of a Black man being killed unlawfully by a white legislation enforcement officer. An lawyer for Lewis’ household stated the trooper initiated the site visitors cease over a burned-out tail gentle and Lewis was shot virtually instantly after the trooper pressured his automobile right into a ditch.

Julian Lewis of Screven County, Georgia.
Julian Lewis of Screven County, Georgia.

The GBI stated Lewis was fatally shot Aug. 7 after a chase in rural Screven County, about 60 miles northwest of Savannah. This marks the 56th officer-involved taking pictures this yr investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

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“He was a form soul. He was a individuals individual. He would take his shirt off for you,” stated Betty Lewis, the sufferer’s widow, on the vigil that drew roughly 200 on a moist evening in a metropolis full of an excessive amount of uncertainty about what would possibly happen after a now-fired white trooper ended the lifetime of a Black man.

“We’d like extra from a public servant who is meant to assist,” stated Betty Lewis, carrying a T-shirt with an image of her husband on the entrance. Lewis known as her partner “her soulmate.”

“He died by the arms of a assassin,” Betty Lewis stated. “That is solely the primary section. This has bought to cease. Justice for Julian.”

Lewis was laid to relaxation Saturday morning with graveside funeral companies at Charlestown United Methodist Church in Screven County.

“Screven County has proven up for Screven County,” stated Francys Johnson, a former Georgia NAACP president who grew up in Sylvania who’s representing the household. “Julian Lewis didn’t should die like he did on Stoney Pond Street.”

Johnson stated Lewis reportedly was being stopped by Thompson for a blown out taillight. Johnson stated Lewis was shot within the head.

The GBI started its investigation on Aug. 7 on the scene of the loss of life. The GBI reported Thompson tried to cease a Nissan Sentra for a site visitors offense on Stoney Pond Street. When Lewis didn’t cease, Thompson started a automobile pursuit that went down a number of nation roads.

Thompson initiated a Precision Intervention Approach (PIT maneuver), inflicting Lewis’ automobile to crash right into a ditch alongside the highway, and Thompson discharged a spherical, fatally placing Lewis.

Thompson wrote in a GSP incident report after the taking pictures that after Lewis’ automobile wrecked, the trooper stopped his patrol automobile “roughly even with the violator’s automobile.” Thompson wrote he drew his weapon as he bought out of his patrol automobile as a result of he was involved about his security.

Lewis then revved his engine, Thompson wrote. This reportedly led Thompson to activate the sunshine on his weapon. Thompson’s report stated he noticed Lewis with each arms on the steering wheel, after which “wrenching the steering wheel in an aggressive back-and-forth method in direction of me and my patrol automobile.”

“It appeared to me that the violator was attempting to make use of his automobile to injure me,” Thompson wrote. “Being in concern for my life and security, I discharged my weapon as soon as.” The report from Thompson reads that he unsuccessfully tried to assist Lewis.

The Georgia Division of Public Security terminated Thompson on account of his “negligence or inefficiency in performing assigned duties; or fee of a felony.”

The GBI will proceed its unbiased investigation. As soon as the investigation has been accomplished, it is going to be turned over to the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Legal professional for evaluate.

Thompson, who was employed by the GSP on July 28, 2013, at present is being housed within the Screven County Jail. Thompson is represented by Statesboro lawyer Keith Barber.

Johnson recommended the “swift motion” of the fees. He famous this was totally different than different legislation enforcement-involved deaths in Georgia and nationwide. The GBI and FBI even have launched a separate civil rights investigation into the taking pictures.

“That ex-trooper was arrested and sits in a Screven County Jail awaiting trial,” Johnson stated. “If you wish to clap for something, clap that the system seems to have labored for us at this time.”

He added: “Right now is justice for Julian, however subsequent week it might be for any of us,” stated Johnson who can be joined in representing the Lewis household by Decatur’s Mawuli Davis of Bozeman and Davis Legislation.

The Georgia NAACP-led JUSTGeorgia Coalition and New Georgia Mission, Black Voters Matter, and Screven Ahead spearheaded the vigil as 56 candles have been lit for every of the legislation enforcement-involved GBI investigations in 2020. A 57th additionally was lit to signify a attainable subsequent investigation.

Ida Daughtry, a member of Screven Ahead which inspires voter registration and voter participation, instructed the Lewises she hopes “your loved ones will get some form of closure.”

“If there’s a silver lining, his loss of life will assist change Screven County,” Daughtry stated. “We are able to actually have conversations about change.”

Georgia President of the NAACP Chapter Rev. James Woodall stated a state of emergency was declared after the loss of life of Lewis. Woodall known as legislation enforcement-involved deaths home terrorism.

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“We’re finished dying,” Woodall stated. “Sufficient is sufficient. We is not going to stand for this injustice. This has been happening for 400 years. Each a part of this technique has failed us. If we wish justice, we should begin from the highest on down. We are going to proceed to struggle this injustice.”

“You by no means suppose you’ll be right here for a gathering like this,” stated Consuelo Hodge, one among Lewis’s sisters and the youngest of 11 youngsters. “We’re asking ‘Why?’ Our brother didn’t deserve this.”

Francys Johnson, a Statesboro civil rights attorney, addresses a crowd of 200 in downtown Sylvania, Georgia on Aug. 14, as members of the Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis family hoist lit candles in honor of Lewis.
Francys Johnson, a Statesboro civil rights lawyer, addresses a crowd of 200 in downtown Sylvania, Georgia on Aug. 14, as members of the Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis household hoist lit candles in honor of Lewis.

Hodge stated Lewis was a “nice brother” and “nice man.”

“We hope the cop will get what he deserves,” Hodge stated. “It’s by the hands of the police and people are the individuals we’re presupposed to belief. We’re going to see the place it goes from right here.”

Sister Jackie Rose: “I don’t know if this was a hate crime, however I do wish to know why.”

“All persons are equal. All individuals matter. We would like justice for anyone,” stated sister Myra Hilton. “We beloved our brother. We are going to miss our brother.”

“My brother was killed on Aug. 7,” stated sister Tonia Lewis. “A younger man is in jail. His household is grieving as nicely.”

Contributing: The Related Press

This text initially appeared on Savannah Morning Information: Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis loss of life: Jacob Gordon Thompson charged