Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Three police officers in Mississippi have been charged with murder for the beating death of a 62-year-old man last year.
A Hinds County, Miss., grand jury indicted Desmond Barney and Anthony Fox of the Clinton Police Department and Lincoln Lampley of the Jackson Police Department with second-degree murder in the death of George Robinson.
All three officers were with the Jackson Police Department in January 2019 when the alleged beating happened that led to Robinson's death. Lampley is now on desk duty.
Prosecutors said the three officers approached Robinson, who was sitting in his vehicle, while they were searching for suspects in the shooting death of a pastor earlier that day. They pulled him from his vehicle and threw him headfirst into the road before hitting and kicking him in the head and chest, the indictment says.
Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens II said Robinson may have been slow to exit his vehicle on his own because of a previous stroke.
The officers arrested Robinson on misdemeanor charges of failure to obey a police officer and resisting arrest.
Paramedics treated Robinson at the scene of his arrest and released him, the indictment said. His girlfriend said she observed that he lost consciousness after his release and she called another ambulance.
Robinson died two days later, Jan. 15, 2019, at a hospital.
His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department in October, accusing the three officers of unreasonable use of force.
"It was pretty egregious," said the Robinson family's lawyer, Dennis Sweet III. "Mr. Robinson had blunt force trauma to the head, he had fractured ribs and we have eyewitnesses. It was in front of his home, on Jones Street."
Robinson's family said they were "pleased" with the indictment.
Francis Springer, an attorney for the three officers, said each was innocent of the allegations.
"We feel really confident, once we're able to exhibit the evidence we have, that these officers are going to be vindicated," he said.
The indictment comes as police departments across the country consider reforms in policing in the wake of protests against excessive force and racial bias.