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Hinds judge enforces $17,786 settlement family rejected in Jackson man’s death

Weeks after the family of a Jackson man who died after a police interaction rejected a settlement and alleged the city violated a confidentiality agreement, a Hinds County judge sided with the city to enforce the settlement. 

On April 23, the Jackson City Council approved $17,786 to settle a 2019 lawsuit brought by the family members of 62-year-old George Robinson, his sister Bettersten Wade and mother Vernice Robinson. 

The next day, Dennis Sweet III, an attorney representing Wade, released a letter alleging the city violated a confidentiality agreement in the settlement when it publicly disclosed the settlement amount. Sweet said Wade would move forward with the lawsuit against the city and three officers. 

Last week, Circuit Court Judge Faye Peterson rejected Sweet’s arguments, and wrote the parties entered a legally binding settlement and cited a 2021 Ethics Commission decision that found that the city of Jackson can’t legally choose to keep settlements confidential. 

“Their agreement was absent any fraud, mistake or overreaching and must now be enforced,” Peterson wrote in a May 31 order.

In January 2019, Robinson was pulled out of his car by officers who were looking for a murder suspect. The family’s lawsuit alleged the officers beat Robinson and that they wrongfully stopped him without a warrant. 

Robinson suffered a stroke days before his encounter with police and was taking medication, according to court records. He had a seizure hours after the beating and died from a brain bleed.

The officers, Anthony Fox, Desmond Barney and Lincoln Lampley, lost their jobs and faced criminal charges but only Fox was convicted for culpable manslaughter in 2022. 

This year, the Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed Fox’s conviction, which Attorney General Lynn Fitch requested and the Hinds County district attorney opposed. The evidence in the case, specifically whether Robinson’s medical condition was a contributor to his death, played a role in the reversal. 

Fox returned to work for the Clinton Police Department, where he was employed after leaving the Jackson police force and up until his conviction. 
Wade is the mother of 37-year-old Dexter Wade, a Jackson man who died after being hit by a car driven by an off-duty Jackson police officer on I-55. He was buried as an unidentified person in the Hinds County pauper’s grave, despite having identification on him and his family calling the coroner’s office and police.

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