A rookie cop faces criminal charges after allegedly ramming a beloved Connecticut pastor while en route to a non-urgent call.
Zachary Lockwood, 24, had only been out of the academy for six months when he responded to a minor car accident in July 2023, allegedly racing to the scene before crashing into the Rev. Tommie Jackson, 69, while he was collecting his mail.
According to his arrest warrant, Lockwood ignored the dispatcher’s orders to follow the flow of traffic and instead rushed to the scene of the accident with a ‘Code 3’ response, the fastest and most urgent.
State police said they recorded him going 65 mph in a 25 mph zone just seconds before colliding with Jackson, a father of two, who died shortly after at the hospital.
Zachary Lockwood, 24 (pictured), had been out of the academy for just six months when he struck and killed Reverend Tommie Jackson in July 2023.
Tributes for Reverend Jackson following his death, the Mayor of the City of Stamford said his loss was an “unimaginable tragedy for our community.”
The rookie cop was allegedly recorded going 65mph in a 25mph zone just seconds before colliding with father-of-two Jackson, who died shortly afterwards in hospital.
Lockwood was arrested and charged on Feb. 7 following a six-month investigation, but his charges of misconduct with a motor vehicle were closely scrutinized by Jackson’s family.
The family’s attorney, Darnell Crosland, said they are requesting that the charges be upgraded to second-degree murder.
Crosland said the family is “continuing conversations” with prosecutors and met with officials before Lockwood’s arraignment in court Wednesday afternoon.
He told Hearst Connecticut Media that raising the charges to involuntary manslaughter would be appropriate because the rookie cop “acted with such reckless disregard for human life.”
“I think when you look at the evidence as it emerged based on the state police investigation, it was more than just negligence, and I think misconduct with a motor vehicle leans toward negligence,” he said.
Lockwood turned himself in earlier this month following the investigation, which allegedly found he ignored an operator’s orders and rushed to the scene of a minor accident as quickly as possible.
The rookie police officer and another officer were told to respond to the minor accident with a ‘Code 1’ (a non-emergency response, without lights or sirens) as there were no injuries in the accident.
But Lockwood reportedly decided to escalate to a ‘Code 3’ with the other officer, who he was speaking to on the phone.
The arrest warrant noted that the other officer responded, “Damn it, don’t go to Code 3, go to Code 2.”
Lockwood, seen at his arraignment Wednesday, allegedly ignored a 911 operator’s orders to respond to a non-urgent call to a minor car accident with a ‘Code 1’ response, instead allegedly running under a ‘Code 1′ response. Code 3’ with lights and sirens.
Reverend Jackson was collecting his mail when Lockwood struck and killed him in July 2023.
Code 2 requires lights and sirens only when necessary at intersections, while Code 3, also known as ‘Hot Response’, requires officers to arrive at the scene as quickly as is safe while using lights and sirens.
Seconds into the call with the other officer, Lockwood allegedly responded, “I just hit someone.” I just hit someone.’
State police said he was traveling 65 mph in a 25 mph zone in the Jackson neighborhood at the same time the reverend was picking up his mail from his mailbox.
When Lockwood saw the 69-year-old man on the street, he “made an evasive maneuver” that led him to crash directly into the reverend, the police reported. Stamford Lawyer.
His arrest warrant said he had slowed to 45 mph when he hit Jackson, who was rushed to an area hospital and died a short time later.
Crosland argued that Lockwood’s current charges do not “reflect the seriousness of the situation,” as he also condemned how the rookie cop was released on $10,000 bail earlier this month and dismissed the six-month long investigation.
“I think the reason it took so long is because there is a disparity in the treatment between citizen Joe Blow and officers who break the law,” Crosland told reporters after Lockwood’s arraignment Wednesday.
“Recklessness is the crucial element of the crime,” he said in a news release calling for involuntary manslaughter charges to be filed.
The reverend’s family, seen at his funeral, has asked that Lockwood’s charges be upgraded from misconduct with a motor vehicle to involuntary manslaughter.
Jackson was survived by his two daughters and his wife of 46 years.
The reverend, seen in his obituary photographs, was known as a cornerstone of his community. His family is also suing for $100 million, saying his loss caused a “huge void” and therefore his family’s “compensation should be just as enormous.”
‘It means that the defendant acted with conscious disregard for a substantial and unjustifiable risk of serious physical injury or death.
‘It goes beyond negligence but does not require intent to kill and the defendant’s actions must be the direct and proximate cause of the victim’s death.
‘Said another way, if the acts showed extreme disregard for human life, it would be considered first degree murder, however, simple recklessness without extreme indifference is considered second degree murder.’
Jackson’s family has also filed a lawsuit against Lockwood and the city for $100 million, saying the reverend’s death caused a “huge void” in the community and therefore his relatives’ “compensation should be equal.” enormous”.
Tributes have poured in for Jackson following his death, and after Lockwood’s eventual arrest in February, Crosland said: “We’re not celebrating, we’re mourning.”
Stamford Mayor Carolien Simmons said at the time: “This incident was an unimaginable tragedy for our community, and my prayers are with Reverend Jackson’s family and everyone involved.”