x

Society

6 Former Mississippi Law Officers to be Sentenced for Torture of 2 Black Men

JACKSON, Miss.  — Six former Mississippi law enforcement officers who pleaded guilty to a long list of state and federal charges for torturing two Black men will be sentenced by a federal judge starting Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Tom Lee will sentence two defendants each day on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after twice delaying the proceedings. Each faces the potential of decades behind bars.

The former law officers admitted in August to subjecting Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker to numerous acts of racially motivated, violent torture. In a January 2023 episode, the group of six burst into a Rankin County home without a warrant and assaulted Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Parker with stun guns, a sex toy and other objects.

The terror began on Jan. 24, 2023, with a racist call for extrajudicial violence.

A white person phoned Rankin County Deputy Brett McAlpin and complained that two Black men were staying with a white woman at a house in Braxton, Mississippi. McAlpin told Deputy Christian Dedmon, who texted a group of white deputies so willing to use excessive force they called themselves “The Goon Squad.”

Once inside, they handcuffed Jenkins and his friend Eddie Terrell Parker and poured milk, alcohol and chocolate syrup over their faces. They forced them to strip naked and shower together to conceal the mess. They mocked the victims with racial slurs and shocked them with stun guns.

After a mock execution went awry when Jenkins was shot in the mouth, they devised a coverup that included planting drugs and a gun. False charges stood against Jenkins and Parker for months.

Ahead of sentencing, Jenkins and Parker called for the “stiffest of sentences” at a news conference Monday.

“It’s been very hard for me, for us,” Jenkins said. “We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

Jenkins suffered a lacerated tongue and broken jaw. He still has trouble speaking and eating.

Malik Shabazz, an attorney representing both men, said the result of the sentencing hearings could have national implications.

Michael Corey Jenkins, center, and Eddie Terrell Parker, right, listen as one of six former Mississippi law officers pleads guilty to state charges at the Rankin County Circuit Court in Brandon, Miss., Aug. 14, 2023. The two Black men who were tortured by six former Mississippi law enforcement officers in a violent episode last year called Monday, March 18, 2024 for a federal judge to impose strict penalties at sentencing hearings set to occur this week. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, file)

“Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker continue to suffer emotionally and physically since this horrific and bloody attack by Rankin County deputies,” Shabazz said. “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.”

Months before federal prosecutors announced charges in August 2023, an investigation by The Associated Press linked some of the deputies to at least four violent encounters with Black men since 2019 that left two dead and another with lasting injuries.

The officers charged include McAlpin, Dedmon, Hunter Elward, Jeffrey Middleton and Daniel Opdyke of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and Joshua Hartfield, a Richland police officer. They pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy against rights, obstructions of justice, deprivation of rights under color of law, discharge of a firearm under a crime of violence, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Most of their lawyers did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment Monday. Jason Kirschberg, representing Opdyke, said: “Daniel has accepted responsibility for his actions, and his failures to act. … He has admitted he was wrong and feels deep remorse for the pain he caused the victims.”

On the federal charges, Dedmon and Elward each face a maximum sentence of 120 years plus life in prison and $2.75 million in fines. Hartfield faces a possible sentence of 80 years and $1.5 million, McAlpin faces 90 years and $1.75 million, Middleton faces 80 years and $1.5 million, and Opdyke could be sentenced to 100 years with a $2 million fine.

The former officers agreed to prosecutor-recommended sentences ranging from five to 30 years in state court, but time served for separate convictions at the state level will run concurrently with the potentially longer federal sentences.

The majority-white Rankin County is just east of the state capital, Jackson, home to one of the highest percentages of Black residents of any major U.S. city.

The officers warned Jenkins and Parker to “stay out of Rankin County and go back to Jackson or ‘their side’ of the Pearl River,” court documents say, referencing an area with higher concentrations of Black residents.

In the gruesome crimes committed by men tasked with enforcing the law, federal prosecutors saw echoes of Mississippi’s dark history, including the 1964 killing of three civil rights workers after a deputy handed them off to the Ku Klux Klan.

For months, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey, whose deputies committed the crimes, said little about the episode. After the officers pleaded guilty in August, Bailey said the officers had gone rogue and promised to change the department. Jenkins and Parker have called for his resignation, and they have filed a $400 million civil lawsuit against the department.

RELATED

NEW YORK  — After 22 witnesses, including a porn actor, tabloid publisher and White House insiders, testimony is over at Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Zelensky outcries to world from Kharkiv (VIDEO)

KHARKIV - Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has released a video plea calling on world leaders to attend a “peace summit” next month in Switzerland after a deadly Russian attack on a DIY hypermarket in Kharkiv on Saturday.

TEL AVIV, Israel  — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Monday that a “tragic mistake” had been made after an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah set fire to a tent camp housing displaced Palestinians and, according to local officials, killed at least 45 people.

ATHENS - It’s rare to see people drunk in public in Greece, where the legal age is 18 but even children can buy beer at kiosks without being questioned, but behind the wheel is another matter, with 44 percent of those surveyed saying they have driven intoxicated.

ATHENS - Greece’s reachout to Qatar for closer diplomatic ties, trade and investments - despite an investigation into allegedly bribing European Parliament members, including Greece’s Eva Kaili - will see the country’s leader come to Athens.

ATHENS - Responding to Greece’s plan to create marine parks in the Aegean Sea, Turkey said it would establish one as well, continuing to question sovereignty and upset that it wasn’t notified about the scheme.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.