Stamford officer who fatally struck beloved pastor Tommie Jackson arraigned 

Francis Akhalbey February 23, 2024
Zachary Lockwood (left) fatally struck Rev. Tommie Jackson (right) with his police cruiser -- Left photo credit: Connecticut State Police | Right photo credit: Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church

Zachary Lockwood, the Stamford police officer who struck and killed a well-known and beloved pastor, appeared before court on Wednesday after he was charged in connection with the fatal incident.

As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the July 2023 incident occurred around the Rev. Tommie Jackson’s home in Wire Mill Road, Stamford. Authorities said Lockwood fatally struck Jackson with his police cruiser as he was crossing the road after accessing his mailbox, adding that the rookie officer was responding to a call at the time.

Police also said the 69-year-old pastor was later pronounced dead after he was taken to a hospital. Lockwood was subsequently placed on administrative leave.

“That’s unacceptable because it was 100, 1,000 percent avoidable,” Darnell Crosland, who is the family’s attorney, told WABC. State police said the call Lockwood was responding to before the fatal crash was minor. 

Dispatch also advised Lockwood to respond to the scene on travel code 1 as the case in question was not of utmost priority and no one had sustained any injury. Authorities were, however, notified about a possible disturbance at the location.

Despite being advised to travel code 1, court documents stated that Lockwood – via phone – informed another officer that he was “going to (expletive) Code 3 over there dude.”

An investigation into the fatal crash established the rookie police officer was driving at 65 miles an hour while intermittently activating his siren. Lockwood later struck and killed Jackson 15 seconds after he last turned on the siren. He was also driving at 46 miles an hour.

“It was unacceptable, it was reckless, and it was deadly,” Crosland said. “And he exhibited a conscious disregard for human safety.”

Lockwood has since been charged with misconduct with a motor vehicle, per the Stamford Advocate. But Jackson’s family said they want the police officer to face an additional charge of second-degree manslaughter.

Crosland before the arraignment on Wednesday explained to Hearst Connecticut Media that the charge of second-degree manslaughter was justifiable because Lockwood “acted with such reckless disregard for human life.”

“I think that when you look at the evidence as it’s come out based on the state police investigation, it was more than just negligence, and I think misconduct with a motor vehicle sort of leans towards negligence,” Crosland added.

Besides being of the view that the charge brought against Lockwood “doesn’t reflect the gravity of the situation,” Jackson’s family also believe the bond set for Lockwood wasn’t that much. They also registered their displeasure over the investigation lasting six months. 

“I think that the reason why it took so long is because there’s a disparity in treatment between Joe Blow citizen and officers who break the law,” Crosland said.

The deceased pastor was with the Rehoboth Fellowship Church and Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church and also served as the city’s assistant director of the Urban Redevelopment Commission. 

Jackson’s family has since filed a lawsuit against the city and Lockwood.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 23, 2024

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