More than two years after George Robinson’s death, murder trial for JPD officers begins

Opening statements give glimpse into each side’s strategy
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The murder trial involving two Jackson police officers began Tuesday with a slew of witnesses and a handful of theories as attorneys showed how they plan to argue the case involving a Black man’s death and allegations of excessive force.

The trial comes more than two years after George Robinson, 62, died following a field arrest and confrontation with Desmond Barney, Lincoln Lampley and Anthony Fox, whose trial begins next week.

“You hear the testimony and the evidence, you may think, ‘Hmm, they’re police. They’re just doing their job.’ But ladies and gentlemen, there’s a way to do all things,” state prosecutor Tametrice Hodges told then socially-distanced jury.

The Hinds County District Attorney’s office tried to hammer that point home in its opening remarks, with witnesses who saw what happened to Robinson shortly after that encounter.

Police approached Robinson while in the area looking for Anthony Longino’s killer, and Barney’s attorney Paul Luckett said Robinson did not comply with the officer’s requests.

At the time, Luckett said, Fox surmised a possible drug deal was taking place.

Witnesses -- and the indictments for second-degree murder that followed -- said the officers body-slammed his head and struck him multiple times to get him to comply.

“Half his head was on the ground. The other part of his face was on the tire. And you could see Mr. Fox and his knee on him, his back or whatnot, and Mr. Robinson was saying, ‘Sir, I told you I didn’t do anything,’” said Ronnie Arnold, who was Robinson’s landlord.

Attorneys maintain that Robinson failed to comply with them when they asked for him to step out of the vehicle.

“No one beat him -- Mr. Robinson. No one kicked him, no one punched him. These defendants did not murder Mr. Robinson,” Luckett said.

Luckett told members of the jury Robinson only had an abrasion, and whatever he died from happened after his run-in with police. Hours after the field arrest and alleged force, Robinson was hospitalized.

He died two days later.

One of Robinson’s friends, who was with him hours after the confrontation, disagrees with Luckett’s version of events.

“It was a cut right there, and the knot was right above the cut. And, like I said, the bandage was taped on, but one part was taped on and was flopping on his head,” said Constance Johnson.

She said Robinson was still bleeding from his injuries hours later, and complained of other aches and pains.

The Hinds County coroner and state medical examiner said Robinson died of a subdural hematoma from blunt force trauma and ruled it a homicide days after the death.

Attorneys for Barney and Lampley said that ruling is only part of the story and they plan to introduce experts this week to give a more complete picture.

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