Murder charges dropped against two officers who beat, body-slammed Mississippi man

“There is nothing on its face to show that there was anything illegal about them performing their duty."

Murder charges have been dropped against two of the three Jackson, Mississippi police officers who were charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of 62-year-old George Robinson in January 2019.

Read More: Mississippi police officers charged for murder after 2019 confrontation with Black man

As theGrio reported, a grand jury accused officers Desmond Barney, Lincoln Lampley and Anthony Fox of “eminently dangerous acts.”

While searching the neighborhood after a pastor was killed in a botched robbery, the three officers, who are all Black, approached Robinson who was sitting in his car. They claimed to have witnessed him making drug transactions and pulled him out of his vehicle for non-compliance.

They handcuffed and beat him, as well as body-slamming him headfirst into the pavement. The officers also delivered multiple kicks and punches to Robinson’s head and chest, according to the indictment. Robinson died two days later, and although his death was ruled a homicide, the Jackson Police Department’s Internal Affairs division found no evidence of wrongdoing immediately following his death.

The Clarion-Ledger reported that Robinson died from multiple blunt head injuries, the state medical examiner ruled. 

“There is nothing on its face to show that there was anything illegal about them performing their duty,” Hinds County Judge E. Faye Peterson said Thursday about Barney and Lampley during a livestream of the hearing.

She noted the state failed to prove that “the defendants committed any of the offenses charged in the indictment,” and witnesses who testified could not identify the officers, according to the report.

Peterson dropped the murder charges with prejudice, and the two officers cannot be tried again. Fox will be tried separately and a different judge will handle the case, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

“For those of you who watched the trial, there was tons of evidence in this case…I’m surprised and disappointed,” said District Attorney Jody Owens of the judge’s decision.

Mayor Phil Fisher praised the judge’s ruling. 

“The City would like to commend Judge Peterson for her integrity and wisdom in these proceedings. The City of Clinton continues to support our officers and looks forward to Officer Anthony Fox’s exoneration in the future,” the mayor said in a statement.

Per the report, Lampley was reassigned to non-enforcement duties during the investigation. After Barney and Fox left the department, they joined the police force in nearby Clinton.

“We continue to extend our sympathies to Mr. Robinson’s family,” Lampley’s attorney Francis Springer said in a statement. “My client is obviously pleased with the Court’s decision. He’s waited two years for the facts to be shown to the world. A fair and impartial judge saw the facts and determined the allegations had no merit and that the officers had violated no laws.”

“There was no physical evidence showing any of the officers assaulted Mr. Robinson. As unfortunate and tragic as Mr. Robinson’s death has been, the state trying to imprison innocent men for murdering him makes it so much worse,” the attorney added. “It’s great to know the Justice System still works.”

“We were very pleased with the results and we think justice was served,” said Michael Cory, an attorney for Barney.

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“I would have rather seen him sitting in a jail cell and I could go see him. But right now, I can’t even go see him because he lost his life,” said Robinson’s sister, Bettersten Wade, the outlet reported.

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