6 Mississippi Ex-Cops Plead Guilty to Torturing Black Men

Some of them face life sentences
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2023 1:30 AM CDT
6 Mississippi Ex-Cops Plead Guilty to Torturing Black Men
An anti-police brutality activist looks back at the entrance to the Rankin County Sheriff's Office in Brandon, Miss., Wednesday, July 5, 2023.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Six former Mississippi law enforcement officers pleaded guilty Thursday to what the local sheriff called "the most horrible incident of police brutality I've learned of over my whole career," and two of them face sentences of up to life in prison. The other four face sentences that could max out at between 80 and 100 years, plus millions in fines, when they are sentenced in mid-November. The incident took place Jan. 24, when Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, both Black, were staying at the home of a white woman with whom Jenkins had long been friends, so that he could take care of her, USA Today reports. She lives in a predominantly white neighborhood in Braxton, and police were called there by a neighbor who was upset that "suspicious" Black people were staying there, the AP reports.

What Jenkins and Parker say followed was horrific: For 90 minutes, they were beaten, sexually assaulted, and Tased; they had eggs thrown at them and milk, alcohol, and chocolate syrup poured down their throats; they were forced to strip naked and shower to wash away the evidence of what had been done to them; one of them was shot in the mouth. The first responding officer called a group of fellow officers that referred to itself as the "Goon Squad" because officers in the group were willing to use excessive force and not report it. Indeed, after the incident made headlines, an AP investigation linked some of the officers involved to four other violent encounters with Black men—two of whom died and one of whom was left with lasting injuries—since 2019.

After the violence, the officers attempted to frame Jenkins and Parker using fraudulent evidence, and filed bogus charges against them. Now, former Rankin County sheriff's deputies Brett McAlpin, 52; Christian Dedmon, 28; Jeffrey Middleton, 46; Hunter Elward, 31; and Daniel Opdyke, 27; and former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield, 31, face various federal charges including civil rights conspiracy, deprivation of rights under color of law, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice. They also face state charges including aggravated assault, home invasion, obstruction of justice in the first degree, and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice. They were all fired or resigned after the incident. (More Mississippi stories.)

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