SYLVANIA, GEORGIA | Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis, 60, was killed by a State Trooper with the Georgia State Patrol [GSP] in Screven County after an alleged minor traffic-related offense on August 7, 2020. He ended up with a fatal gunshot wound after the trooper "performed a Precision Intervention Technique [PIT] and the car stopped after running into a ditch," according to the initial investigative report by Georgia Bureau of Investigation [GBI].
We are calling both for criminal charges to be filed against the officer responsible for the murder of Mr. Lewis and for a civil rights investigation by The United States Department of Justice into the Screven County case as well as the Waycross shooting, in which a police officer fired on several unarmed juveniles.
In recognition of this current crisis, we are declaring a state of emergency in Georgia with respect to the never ending acts of police violence that regularly and consistently put our communities in danger. “Increased levels of racial violence and police brutality have created a crisis that requires our urgent attention here in Georgia. Because of the scope of the problem, we are declaring a State of Emergency in Georgia," says Rev. James Woodall, State President of the Georgia NAACP.
Over this weekend, new cases of violence, police brutality and murder heightened the state of this emergency. To address the emergency, there must be a coordinated effort on behalf of civic organizations, community leaders, elected officials and ultimately the entirety of the State of Georgia. We applaud the GBI for its full investigative transparency and we are committed to continuing to keep lines of communication open during this emergency so that we can ultimately save the lives of Georgia residents. But we recognize that this is only the first step to ensuring justice.
In this State of Emergency, we demand that there be not only accountability for individual cases of violence and brutality, but also community and legislative actions that prioritize resolving systematic deficiencies that ultimately lead to more people losing their lives. Here are our reiterated demands from JustGeorgia:
- We call for the immediate resignations of District Attorneys Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill for their violations of their oaths of office and Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct
- We demand community oversight over any attorneys appointed following the resignations of District Attorneys Johnson and Barnhill.
- Encourage concurrent internal affairs investigations of law enforcement accused of misconduct so as not to unnecessarily delay suspension and termination of state actors who pose a risk to the safety of our communities.
- Release audio and video recordings of incidents within 72 hours of review by the investigating agency.
"Way too many people have lost their life due to police brutality, racial terrorism and dehumanizing violence. We are calling for an immediate issuance of this State of Emergency to address the FIFTY-SIX law enforcement office-involved shootings that've happened in 2020," Rev. Woodall concludes.
If any individual has experienced racial and/or extrajudicial violence and would like to tell their story, please call our State of Emergency hotline at 1-844-JUST-GA-0. You can also call if you are in need of legal support for extrajudicial violence or unjust criminalization.
About Georgia NAACP
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has had an unbroken presence in Georgia since 1917. The Georgia NAACP maintains a network of units throughout Georgia, from cities to small rural counties. The Georgia NAACP has been the most effective and consistent advocates for African American civil rights in Georgia. You can read more about the Georgia NAACP’s work and mission at naacpga.org.