Former Mississippi Police Officer Sentenced to 20 Years for Torturing Two Black Men

Two former Mississippi police officers were sentenced to prison for torturing two black males.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Tom Lee sentenced former sheriff’s deputy Hunter Elward to 20 years in prison and Jeffrey Middleton, a former RCSO Lieutenant, to 17.5 years. They are the first of six former cops imprisoned for the racially motivated torture of Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker.

Elward, along with fellow Rankin County deputies Brett McAlpin, Christian Dedmon, Jeffrey Middleton, and Daniel Opdyke, as well as former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield, illegally entered Jenkins’ and Parker’s homes on January 24, 2023, after a white person contacted McAlpin about two Black men staying with a white woman at a house in Braxton, Mississippi.

McAlpin informed Dedmon, who rallied the remaining men. According to court filings, the group used to call themselves “The Goon Squad” because they were willing to use excessive force.

Former Mississippi Police Officer Sentenced to 20 Years for Torturing Two Black Men

According to papers, after inside Jenkins and Parker’s home, the cops instructed the men to “stay out of Rankin County and return to Jackson or ‘their side’ of the Pearl River.”

The officers handcuffed, kicked, waterboarded, and used a Taser on the two guys before attempting to sexually abuse them, according to the lawsuit. Jenkins and Parker claim that the officers used racial slurs against them while torturing them.

The torture allegedly lasted over two hours and ended when Elward admitted to putting a gun in Jenkins’ mouth and shooting him in a “mock execution” that went wrong. Jenkins’ injuries included a lacerated tongue and a shattered jaw. He still has difficulty speaking and eating.

According to court documents, after the torture, the officers staged a cover-up by concealing narcotics and a revolver at the scene. Jenkins and Parker faced bogus charges for several months.

In August, federal prosecutors charged the officers with conspiracy against rights, obstruction of justice, deprivation of rights under cover of law, discharge of a handgun during a crime of violence, and conspiracy to obstruct justice. They pled guilty to the counts.

“These defendants will spend 20 years and 17.5 years in prison for their heinous attack on citizens they had sworn an oath to protect,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland stated.

“These defendants kicked in the door of a home occupied by two Black men, handcuffed and arrested them without probable cause, used racial slurs against them, and punched, kicked, tased, and assaulted them.” After one of the defendants shot his revolver into the mouth of one of the victims, shattering his jaw, the defendants huddled outside to devise a cover story while the victim lay bleeding on the floor. The Justice Department will hold officers accountable for violating constitutional rights and thereby betraying the public trust.

Middleton will be sentenced Tuesday afternoon, and Dedmon and Opdyke will be sentenced Wednesday. Hartfield and McAlpin will be sentenced Thursday.

According to The Associated Press, Dedmon faces a maximum sentence of 120 years to life in prison and $2.75 million in fines. Hartfield faces an 80-year sentence and a $1.5 million fine, while McAlpin gets 90 years and $1.75 million. Middleton faces 80 years and $1.5 million in fines, while Opdyke faces 100 years and $2 million.

Jenkins and Parker demanded the “stiffest of sentences” for the former policemen during a press conference on Monday.

“Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker continue to suffer emotionally and physically since this horrific and bloody attack by Rankin County deputies,” said Malik Shabazz, a counsel for both men. “A message must be sent to police in Mississippi and all over America, that level of criminal conduct will be met with the harshest of consequences.”

Jenkins and Parker have also demanded the resignation of Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey and filed a $400 million legal complaint against the department.

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