Coroner: Man’s death in Jackson police custody was homicide

Published 11:16 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

An autopsy has concluded that the death of a man apprehended by police in Mississippi’s largest city was a homicide, a coroner said Wednesday.

George Robinson died Jan. 13 from bleeding on the brain caused by blunt force trauma to the head, Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart told news outlets. Information about what caused the head injury is not being released at the moment, Grisham-Stewart said, except that it was sustained during Robinson’s arrest.

Neighbor Connie Bolton told Mississippi Today that Jackson officers hit Robinson and slammed him down Jan. 11 while seeking suspects in the fatal shooting of a Rev. Anthony Longino, a pastor who was shot in a robbery in front of his church. Two other men were later arrested and charged with Longino’s murder.

Robinson was sitting in his car in front of his house when officers approached him, James Taylor told the Clarion Ledger . They asked him to get out, he said.

Robinson had recently suffered a stroke, Taylor and others said, which made his movements slow.

“They just snatched him,” Taylor said. “They were brutal.”

Jackson Police Chief James Davis told reporters last week that the officers, part of JPD’s K-9 unit, approached Robinson Jan. Officers arrested Robinson on misdemeanor charges of failing to obey a police officer and resisting arrest and then released him, telling him to show up to court later.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said three officers remain on paid leave.

The city isn’t naming them. Lumumba said grand jurors will consider possible criminal charges.

Jackson Police spokesman Sgt. Roderick Holmes said Robinson’s family has met with police officials and filed a complaint.
Holmes said he is not aware of any body camera recordings of the arrest.

Robinson was taken to a hospital after his encounter with police, and died there two days later.

Some friends and family members on Monday held a march protesting Robinson’s death. They said it was wrong for police to hurt Robinson while looking for Longino’s killer.

“You cannot come in and take over a neighborhood and brutalize when you are trying to do justice for another family,” Robinson’s sister, Bettersten Wade, told WAPT-TV . “If you did justice for them, then I should have justice for my family, too.”