Mississippi judge drops murder charges against 2 police officers

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A Mississippi judge dropped second-degree murder charges against two police officers Thursday who were accused of beating and body-slamming George Robinson, a 62-year-old Black man, in 2019, resulting in his death. 

Hinds County Judge Faye Peterson dropped the charges against Desmond Barney and Lincoln Lampley, saying that the state failed to prove the two officers acted criminally, the Clarion Ledger reported. 

“There was nothing on its face that was illegal,” Peterson said in court, according to the newspaper. “The detention of a suspect is not a criminal act and there was no proof presented that they were conspiring.” 

A third officer, Anthony Fox, has not yet gone to trial. All three officers are Black. 

The indictment last August accused the trio of taking Robinson from his car, slamming him to the ground and striking him in the head. 

Bettersten Wade, Robinson’s brother, said her brother had just had a stroke before the incident, which was why he was moving slowly when officers asked him to get out of a car, WLBT reported. 

“They drove up, pulled him out of the car. He did not have a bandage on his head. There were no abrasions on his head. He just had a stroke, but he was going to get better,” Wade said, according to the news station. 

“He might have been moving slowly to get out of the car,” Wade added. “They over-excessively pulled him out.”

Jody E. Owens II, the district attorney in Hinds County, Clarion Ledger that he was disappointed in Judge Peterson’s decision. 

“I thought the evidence on the record was sufficient,” Owens told the newspaper “For those of you who watched the trial, there was tons of evidence in this case…I’m surprised and disappointed.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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