Federal prosecutors claim that six White former law enforcement officers in Mississippi who went by the name “Goon Squad” have admitted to a racist attack on two Black males who were brutalized during a house search that culminated with one of the cops shooting one of the guys in the mouth.
Five former Rankin County sheriff’s deputies and one ex-Richland police officer appeared in federal court on Thursday and pled guilty.
The civil rights allegations against them were then unveiled.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated, “The defendants in this case tortured and caused unspeakable harm to their victims, egregiously violated the civil rights of citizens who they were supposed to protect, and shamefully betrayed the oath they swore as law enforcement officers.”
Officers who violate the public trust, which is crucial to public safety, shall be held responsible by the Justice Department.
According to court records, on January 24, the cops broke into the house without a search warrant, detained Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, and then shocked them with a stun gun.
Over an approximately 90-minute period, the cops punched them, used their stun guns repeatedly on them, and attacked them with a sex item.
Jenkins’ tongue was sliced, his jaw was broken, and his neck was severed as a result of one cop putting a pistol in his mouth and shooting, according to court filings.
The records said that instead of treating him medically, the cops talked about a “false cover story to cover up their misconduct,” as well as planting and tampering with evidence.
According to court papers, the reason the police went to the Braxton home was because a White neighbor had complained about Black individuals living with the White woman who owned the property. The court filings reveal that throughout the raid, officers called the two men racial epithets.
In the filings, the victims are only given their initials, although Jenkins and Parker have talked about the incident in public. In June, they brought a $400 million civil rights case against Rankin County in federal court.
According to court records, the police chose the moniker “Goon Squad” for themselves “because of their willingness to use excessive force” and “not to report it.”
Christian Dedmon, Hunter Elward, Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, Daniel Opdyke, and former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield are among those accused in the case. They are also former employees of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department.
According to the records, Opdyke and Dedmon were the ones who attacked the two guys with the sex item, and Elward was the one who shot Jenkins.
The civil rights investigation was started by the Justice Department in February.
On June 27, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey declared that all five of the cops engaged in the incident on January 24 had either been fired or resigned.
Malik Shabazz, a lawyer for Jenkins and Parker, praised the “long overdue” dismissal after the announcement.
At the time, Shabazz stated that the dismissal of the Rankin County, Mississippi, Sheriff’s deputies responsible for the beating and shooting of Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker was an important step toward bringing those responsible to justice.
“Sheriff Bryan Bailey has finally taken action after encouraging much of the carnage that has taken place in Rankin County while he has been in power. Brian Bailey should either step down or be fired as the next respectable and ethical course of action.
Trent Walker, another lawyer representing the two men, claimed in the statement that he had “lived in Rankin County all my life. These terminations are unheard of. In Rankin County, the door to justice may finally be opening.
Later it was discovered that Hartfield was the sixth law enforcement agent present at the raid. When he took part in the attack, Hartfield was not working, and he was also let go.
The charges against the policemen were made according to criminal information that was filed in federal court and outlined the grounds for pursuing criminal charges against a defendant.
A piece of criminal information does not call for a grand jury’s approval like an indictment would.