A grand jury has indicted three Mississippi police officers on second-degree murder charges, accusing them of causing eventually fatal injuries to a man they removed from a vehicle in Jackson last year.
Desmond Barney, 31; Lincoln Lampley, 33; and Anthony Fox, 35 were indicted in the January 2019 death of George Robinson, according to court documents filed last week.
The officers, at the time all with Jackson Police Department, body slammed Robinson headfirst into pavement and struck and kicked him in the head and chest after removing him from a vehicle, the grand jury alleges in the indictment.
Robinson, 61, ultimately was not arrested, and died two days after the encounter, CNN affiliate WLBT reported. A coroner ruled the death a homicide by blunt force trauma, according to WLBT.
Francis Springer, the attorney for Lampley, says the officers are wrongly accused.
“The accusations expressed in the indictments are not correct and are not supported by our evidence,” attorney Francis Springer told CNN. “The officers broke no law, nor did they use excessive force in dealing with Mr. Robinson.”
Michael Cory, the lawyer for Barney, told CNN, “Neither Desmond Barney, nor the other officers, did anything that caused Mr. Robinson’s death. There is much more to this story than what is being reported in the media. He is looking forward to the truth coming out.”
CNN is seeking comment from the attorney for Fox.
What led to the encounter
The officers, while investigating a killing not connected to Robinson, approached him on January 13, 2019, after they saw what they thought was a drug transaction, according to WLBT.
They pulled Robinson out of his vehicle and put him on the ground and handcuffed him, allegedly because he wouldn’t show his hands. The officers eventually released him there without pursuing charges and surveillance video shows Robinson later going into a motel room that night, with several others coming and going, WLBT reported.
He was admitted to a hospital later that night and he died two days later, WLBT reported.
Officers released on bond
Barney, Lampley and Fox recently turned themselves in and they posted bond Thursday, according to WLBT.
Barney and Fox no longer work with Jackson police, but instead are employed by Clinton Police Department, west of Jackson, CNN affiliate WJTV reported. Lampley still is with Jackson police, according to WJTV.
Robinson’s family released a statement saying they were “pleased that the Jackson police officers involved in his death have finally been charged with murder,” according to WLBT.
“For us, the charges prove that George’s life mattered and no one deserves to die the way he did,” the statement reads.
Springer, Lampley’s attorney, told CNN the defendants “eagerly await their day in court.”
“Through trial, including the testimonies of several expert witnesses we plan to bring forth, we will show these accusations of wrongdoing are not correct,” Springer said.
CNN’s Alta Spells contributed to this report.