A Georgia state trooper who shot and killed a man over a broken tail light was arrested Friday and charged with felony murder and aggravated assault.
Trooper Jacob Thompson, 27, is accused of firing a single shot at a 60-year-old Black man named Julian Lewis after forcing his car into a ditch when then older man did not stop after he tried pulling him over on August 7.
Thompson claimed he was in fear for his life because Lewis was driving right towards him but the Georgia Bureau of Investigation determined that was not the case.
The GBI said Thompson pursued Lewis down several county roads in Screven County before performing a precision intervention technique by striking the side of Lewis’ car near the rear tire, forcing it to spin out of control and end up in a ditch.
Thompson is accused of firing a single shot moments later after Lewis emerged from the car, striking him in the forehead, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But Thompson claimed he was in fear for his life, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“At some point, I heard the engine on the violator’s vehicle revving at a high rate of speed,” he wrote in the report. “I saw him wrenching the steering wheel in an aggressive back and forth manner towards me and my patrol vehicle. It appeared to me that the violator was trying to use his vehicle to injure me. Being in fear for my life and safety, I discharged my weapon once.”
The Georgia Department of Public Safety issued the following statement:
“The Georgia Department of Public Safety terminated Jacob G. Thompson today, Aug. 14, 2020, due to his negligence or inefficiency in performing assigned duties; or commission of a felony. Thompson was hired on July 28, 2013.”
“No one should have to bury a loved one simply because of a busted tail light,” the Rev. James Woodall, president of the Georgia NAACP, told ABC News.
“This was a case of racial profiling. We are not necessarily happy right now. Yes, the man was arrested, but we’re done dying.”
Residents in the area said Thompson had a reputation of racially profiling drivers, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.