The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is questioning the account of a Georgia trooper who fatally shot a Black man at a traffic stop after obtaining dashcam footage of the incident, the Associated Press reported.
During a pre-trial court hearing on Sept. 28, GBI Special Agent Dustin Peak revealed his belief that the video contradicts Georgia State Trooper Jacob Thompson’s reason for shooting Julian Lewis.
On Aug. 7, Thompson reportedly tried to pull Lewis over for a broken taillight, but he refused to stop his car, prompting a brief pursuit. The trooper eventually forced Lewis’ car into a ditch, then proceeded to shoot him in the head as he claimed he heard the engine revving up and thought Lewis would attempt to run him over.
Video of the incident, however, shows Thompson rang fire almost immediately after walking out of his patrol car.
“We determined that approximately one second after Trooper Thompson took his foot off the brake of his patrol vehicle, there was one shot that was fired,” Peak said, noting Lewis was unable to move because the crash disconnected his car’s battery.
At the hearing, GBI forensics experts testified that Lewis had cocaine, methamphetamine and Prozac in his system when he was killed, but Francys Johnson, one of the lawyers representing Lewis’ family, argued against the justification of Thompson’s actions.
“I am not certain as to the authenticity of this report, but I am absolutely clear that it changes nothing about the case or the appropriateness of the charges of felony murder and aggravated assault,” Johnson said, per The August Chronicle. “I would urge you to ask the officer who leaked this report, if it is even real, to leak the video and audio of the murder of Julian Lewis.”
Thompson is charged with felony murder and aggravated assault and is currently in jail without bond. The judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for a grand jury to determine whether Thompson should be indicted.