Less than a month after receiving a $72,500 settlement from Fall River, George Thompson has passed away. He was 53.
George spent the last two years of his life fighting the city after he was arrested by police officer Thomas Barboza for shooting a video of the officer with his iPhone. When Thompson received his settlement in January, he said he planned to open a food truck called "Bozo's," a name inspired by Barboza.
"I'm reinvesting the money in the community. I want to keep the money here. It came from the taxpayers, I want to give back to the taxpayers," George said at the time.
While he won't be able to fulfill his dream of opening a small business, he will continue to serve as an inspiration to those who knew him.
He dealt with many setbacks over the past few years—being arrested and forced to spend a night in jail, being threatened with reprisal by the officer who arrested him, being forced to go to court numerous times to fight baseless charges, having the contents of his phone destroyed by the police, having to go back to court to force the police to return his phone, and his numerous unsuccessful attempts to get the city to acquiesce to a settlement.
But throughout George's lengthy battle, he never lost his fighting spirit or his sense of humor.
George was well known around the city. While we only met him in person a handful of times, each time we found that it was impossible to walk down the street with him without being stopped by his friends and other acquaintances from the community.
After news of his death broke this morning, George's Facebook page was flooded with an outpouring of support from those who knew him.
We too will miss him, and our hearts go out to everyone who is mourning his shocking passing.
George was a true warrior, the kind of person the world needs more of. The best thing we can do to honor his memory is to live like he did—by standing up for ourselves and never backing down when faced with injustice.