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'Not celebrating; we’re mourning': Attorney for family of late Stamford pastor reacts to arrest

Kate Heichler, Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut along with Dr. Tommie Jackson, pastor at the Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Stamford talk with parishioners at the end of the "Pray for the Land" gathering at the church. Sunday, July 10, 2016.
Provided / Scott Mullin
/
Hearst Connecticut Media
FILE: 2016: Dr. Tommie Jackson addresses his parishioners at his Faith Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. Stamford police officer Zachary Lockwood is facing felony charges for misconduct with a motor vehicle, after state police say he hit and killedJackson in 2023.

A Stamford police officer’s arrest for hitting and killing a beloved local pastor is being greeted with mixed emotions from the pastor’s family attorney.

Darnell D. Crosland said the arrest indicates liability, but the family is still reeling from the Rev. Tommie Jackson’s death.

“We're not celebrating, we’re mourning,” Crosland said.

Stamford police officer Zachary Lockwood is facing felony charges for misconduct with a motor vehicle, after state police say he struck and killed Jackson in 2023.

Lockwood turned himself in to state police in Bridgeport Wednesday and was released on a $10,000 bond.

Connecticut state police say Jackson was walking to retrieve mail outside his home on Wire Mill Road in July of 2023, when Lockwood hit him with his police vehicle while responding to a crash.

Jackson’s death led to widespread mourning within the city of Stamford, where Jackson was a well known and respected figure.

Crosland said the family is still mourning but welcomed Lockwood’s arrest.

“To that extent, we're glad that this has happened, because it sends a message to police officers that you must be accountable for yourself, and the cities that employ these police officers must also be accountable,” Crosland said.

State Police said Lockwood was driving 65 miles per hour on a road where the speed limit was 25 miles per hour, when he was 300 feet away from Jackson. State police said the emergency lights on Lockwood's police vehicle were flashing on and off for intermittent periods.

Lockwood was traveling at 46 miles per hour when he hit Jackson.

State police said Lockwood’s car did not meet the elements of an emergency vehicle according to Connecticut’s general statute.

Jackson’s family filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Stamford. Crosland said the lawsuit is still in the discovery phase and that the family wishes to avoid a long legal battle.

“While it's par for the course that we had to file a civil claim, it's not par for the course that we have that protracted litigation,” Crosland said.

Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons issued a statement on Thursday announcing the state police’s completion of their investigation.

“This incident was an unimaginable tragedy for our community, and my prayers remain with Reverend Jackson’s family, and everyone involved,” Simmons said. “I would like to thank the Connecticut State Police for their investigation, and I am hopeful for a fair and just resolution to this horrific situation.”

The Rev. Thomas L. Nins, pastor of First Baptist Church Greenwich, and chaplain of the Greenwich Police Department, knew Jackson for 20 years. Nins praised Lockwood for turning himself in and said he’s now waiting for accountability.

“I look forward to the process of justice taking place in this situation.”

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