JACKSON, Miss. — A state judge in Mississippi dismissed murder charges Thursday against two police officers accused of body-slamming and beating a Black man.
The ruling by Hinds County Judge Faye Peterson ended the trial of former Jackson officers Desmond Barney and Lincoln Lampley, news outlets reported.
She said prosecutors failed to present evidence that the officers acted criminally against 62-year-old George Robinson on Jan. 13, 2019.
An indictment alleged that they and a third officer took Robinson from his vehicle, slammed him to the pavement and repeatedly hit him in the head and chest. He died two days later.
It was not clear how Peterson’s decision would affect the case against Anthony Fox, which is before a different judge and has not yet gone to trial.
The officers worked for the Jackson Police Department at the time. Fox and Barney currently work for the Clinton Police Department.
Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens said the decision surprised him, WLBT-TV reported.
“Significant evidence was presented. … Three eyewitnesses identified that officers did body-slam Mr. Robinson. Medical professionals … acknowledged that Mr. Robinson died of blunt force trauma,” he said.
Robinson’s sister, Bettersten Wade, said she wasn’t going to hate anyone but did hate what happened to her brother.
The officers said Robinson failed to comply when asked to step out of his vehicle during a traffic stop.
Wade said he would have obeyed but was moving slowly because of a recent stroke, the station reported.