Three Mississippi cops have been charged with second-degree murder stemming from the death of a 61-year-old Black man named George Robinson. Desmond Barney, Lincoln Lampley and Anthony Fox — who all still work as police officers — were indicted by a grand jury on the charges last week.
While employed by the Jackson Police Department, Fox, Lampley and Barney approached Robinson in January of 2019 while investigating an unrelated crime. According to WLBT, the officers claimed they thought Robinson had been involved in a drug transaction and asked to see his hands. When Robinson allegedly wouldn’t show them his hands, the cops pulled Robinson out of his car, slammed him headfirst onto the pavement and stomped on his head and chest, CNN reports.
Robinson was handcuffed by the officers, but was not arrested. Lampley, Fox and Barney eventually released him and surveillance footage showed Robinson went to a motel. He was admitted to a hospital later than night and died two days later. The Hinds County coroner ruled his death a homicide and said he died from blunt force trauma.
Neighbors and friends rallied to demand justice for Robinson by protesting after his death.
“If you knew him, you’d be marching too,” Connie Bolton, who witnessed the incident, told Mississippi Today at the time. “He didn’t deserve that… Ain’t no way nobody’s supposed to kick no human like that.”
Prosecutors say the three cops caused life-threatening injuries that ultimately killed Robinson, which their attorneys have denied.
“The accusations expressed in the indictments are not correct and are not supported by our evidence,” Lampley’s attorney Francis Springer told CNN. “The officers broke no law, nor did they use excessive force in dealing with Mr. Robinson.”
“Neither Desmond Barney, nor the other officers, did anything that caused Mr. Robinson’s death,” Barney’s lawyer Michael Cory added. “There is much more to this story than what is being reported in the media. He is looking forward to the truth coming out.”
Robinson’s family released a statement about the cops’ indictment, saying they were “pleased that the Jackson police officers involved in his death have finally been charged with murder.”
“For us, the charges prove that George’s life mattered and no one deserves to die the way he did,” the statement read.
Barney, Lampley and Fox turned themselves in and posted bond on Thursday (Aug. 13). Barney and Fox currently work for the Clinton Police Department, while Lampley remains an officer in Jackson.