Two former Mississippi police officers were indicted in the brutal beating of a Black motorist, and one of them was also charged in an unrelated fatal shooting.
Wade Robertson, 28, and Bryce Gilbert, 27, were charged with aggravated assault in the 2018 beating of James Barnett, and Robertson was also charged with manslaughter in the 2019 shooting death of Dominique Henry, reported The Laurel Leader-Call.
Barnett admitted to turning around to avoid a police checkpoint May 16, 2018, and leading officers on a 20-mile police chase into the Heidelberg area of Jasper County.
He claims he lay face down on the ground, as officers ordered him to do after the chase ended, and he said the pair repeatedly kicked him in the face with steel-toe boots and then harassed him while he was being treated afterward at a nearby hospital.
Both officers were fired by the Laurel Police Department the day after the beating.
Barnett filed a civil rights complaint against Robertson and Gilbert, along with state and local officials, claiming the officers had “brutally assaulted and publicly tortured” him on the side of the road, but that case was dismissed Nov. 15, 2019, after he reached a settlement with the officers.
Five days later, Robertson shot a Black woman to death as she was allegedly stealing his wife’s car outside their home near Bay Springs.
Robertson claims the shooting was in self-defense, but the 30-year-old Henry’s family disagrees.
Henry was allegedly beating on Robertson’s door, and when the former officer went to investigate the woman had allegedly gotten into the wife’s car and started driving away.
Robertson claims she tried to run him over when he attempted to stop her, and he fatally shot her inside the vehicle.
The indictment alleges the former officer was not acting in self-defense when he fired into the car and killed Henry.