UNITED STATES NEWS

Sister of Mississippi man who died after police pulled him from car rejects lawsuit settlement

Apr 24, 2024, 1:56 PM | Updated: 5:22 pm

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A woman who sued Mississippi’s capital city over the death of her brother has decided to reject a settlement after officials publicly disclosed how much the city would pay his survivors, her attorney said Wednesday.

George Robinson, 62, died in January 2019, days after three Jackson police officers pulled him from a car while searching for a murder suspect.

The Jackson City Council on Tuesday approved payment of $17,786 to settle the lawsuit that relatives of Robinson filed in state court in October 2019, WLBT-TV reported. City documents said the settlement was not an admission of liability by the city or the three officers named in the lawsuit. Robinson was Black, as are the three officers.

The payment to the relatives — including Robinson’s sister, Bettersten Wade — was approved on a unanimous vote. Wade’s attorney, Dennis Sweet III, released a letter Wednesday saying that the city of Jackson violated a confidentiality agreement that was part of the settlement. Sweet said that because of the public disclosure and because the city “appears to claim or infer some sort of perceived victory,” Wade intends to continue suing the city.

Sweet said Robinson’s family reached a separate “substantial settlement” with an ambulance company.

Councilman Kenneth Stokes said he thought the city settlement was too small, although he voted for it.

“I’m saying it just sends the wrong message about human life, especially Black people’s lives,” Stokes said. “I think a step in the right direction would’ve been to pay the family a little bit more.”

The lawsuit alleged that the three officers “brutally, viciously and mercilessly beat Mr. Robinson by striking and kicking him.”

“Mr. Robinson had not committed any crime, was not the subject of any active warrant, and was not a threat to himself or any person in the area,” the lawsuit said.

Robinson had been hospitalized for a stroke days before the police encounter and was on medication, Wade has said. He had a seizure hours after he was beaten, and he died two days later from bleeding on his brain.

Second-degree murder charges against two of the officers were dropped in the case. In August 2022, a Hinds County jury convicted former detective Anthony Fox of culpable negligence manslaughter — and then in January of this year, the Mississippi Court of Appeals overturned Fox’s conviction. A majority of the appeals court wrote that prosecutors failed to prove Fox “acted in a grossly negligent manner” or that Robinson’s death “was reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances.”

Wade is the mother of Dexter Wade, who was run over by an off-duty Jackson Police Department officer in March 2023.

Dexter Wade was buried at the Hinds County Pauper’s Cemetery. But it was October before his mother was told about the burial.

His body was exhumed Nov. 13, and an independent autopsy was conducted. A wallet found in the pocket of his jeans contained his state identification card with his home address, credit card and a health insurance card, said civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Wade’s family.

On Nov. 20, Dexter Wade’s family held a funeral for him, and he was buried in another cemetery.

United States News

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Sister of Mississippi man who died after police pulled him from car rejects lawsuit settlement