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A judge has sentenced six former Mississippi police officers who pleaded guilty to various charges after torturing two black men.

The individuals involved, previously part of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and Richland Police, faced sentencing on state charges for their actions against Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker. The incident, which occurred on January 24, 2023, has been found by the court to be a racially motivated attack, leading to the officers receiving sentences ranging from 15 to 45 years.

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The sentencing took place in Rankin County, with Judge Steve Ratcliff presiding. The officers, identified as Brett McAlpin, Christian Dedmon, Jeffrey Middleton, Hunter Elward, Daniel Opdyke, and Joshua Hartfield, were also mandated to pay restitution and forfeit their law enforcement certifications. These sentences will run concurrently with their already commenced federal sentences, ensuring they serve time in federal penitentiaries.

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The crime unfolded when the officers, self-dubbed the “Goon Squad” for their excessive force tactics, responded to a call about two Black men visiting a white woman. This led to a sequence of abuse, including racial slurs, handcuffing, kicking, waterboarding, Tasing, and attempted sexual assault, eventually leading to a mock execution attempt by Elward that severely injured Jenkins. The aftermath saw a concerted effort to cover up their actions by planting drugs on Jenkins and Parker.

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Jenkins, who suffered significant physical injuries, spoke of his altered life post-attack, saying, “I was brutally beaten and nearly killed by the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, also known as the Goon Squad. I never would have thought a night of hanging out with friends would nearly cost me my life. I can no longer do what I love to do and that’s sing. I play the drums for my church. And because I was shot in the face, it affected my vision so I can no longer play.… I wake it up at night covered in sweat because of the nightmares of my attack. Loud noises police lights, sirens, all give me extreme fear and anxiety. I am broken inside and I don’t ever think I’ll be the person I was.”

Parker, who was also a victim, said, “I never knew the ones that were sworn to protect and serve would be the ones I need protection from. I am in constant fear someone will break into my home and terrorize me again.….the humiliation and embarrassment from the sexual assault is too great to me to talk about. My life was not perfect, But it was mine. I doubt if I’ll ever experience it again….They should be given what they gave me and Michael Jenkins — which was no mercy and I pray for the maximum sentence.”


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