More than a dozen members of George Robinson’s family gathered in front of a white and light blue house in Washington Addition on Thursday afternoon.
A white Chevy Impala — with two San Francisco 49ers hats peaking out the rear window — was parked out front, next to a large evergreen tree.
News cameras surrounded the sunlight-bathed scene.
Attorney Dennis Sweet IV, with Sweet and Associates, addressed the onlookers.
“You all are not at a press conference today. Today, we are at a crime scene,” Sweet said.
Sweet announced that he and his father are representing Robinson’s family. They have hired an independent investigator to look into the death of the 62-year-old, who died of a head injury two days after he was arrested by Jackson police officers.
“Upon our preliminary investigation, we believe that Mr. Robinson died as a result of police misconduct. We believe that Mr. Robinson died as a result of the use of excessive force by Jackson police officers,” Sweet said.
Last week, the Jackson Police Department announced it launched an internal investigation into Robinson’s death.
Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart confirmed Wednesday Robinson’s death was ruled a homicide. That same day, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced three officers involved with Robinson’s arrest have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Sweet said Robinson was sitting in the car the night of Jan. 13, when officers approached him.
“(They) pulled him out of the car, and beat him — brutally beat him. And that beating resulted in his death. To add insult to injury, they gave him a citation for disobeying a police officer,” Sweet said.
Police said those officers, who are part of JPD’s K-9 unit, were searching for the men suspected of killing the Rev. Anthony Longino as he opened his church, one block away from Robinson’s home, earlier that Sunday. Two men have since been charged with Longino’s murder.
Robinson was arrested for failing to obey an officer and resisting arrest, police said. He was released, with the expectation he would show up for a later court date.
Robinson’s sister, Bettersten Wade, said the officers involved “should be in jail.”
JPD is not releasing the officers’ names. Sweet also declined to identify them at this point.
“We want justice for George,” Wade said. “…(Police) are supposed to protect and serve us. But instead, we did not get protected, we did not get served. We did not get justice. Not yet.”
Wade said Robinson had suffered a stroke on Christmas, which he was still recovering from at the time of his arrest.
Wade said their mother, who has lost two sons in recent weeks, is “suffering.”
Sweet said independent investigator Tyrone Lewis, a former Hinds County sheriff, has conducted several interviews and is in the process of collecting statements.
“We want to see these officers prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Sweet said. “This man was brutally beaten. That caused his death. That is a murder.”
WAPT-TV reported witnesses saw police slam Robinson to the ground and hit him in the head with a flashlight. During last week’s press conference, Jackson Police Chief James Davis said it was too early in the investigation to confirm if that’s what happened.
A JPD spokesman said he is not aware of any body camera footage of the arrest.
Robinson was kind, generous and uplifting, his friends and neighbors said.
One friend called him a “source of happiness” in the neighborhood.