Friday, September 22

The Goon Squad, consisting of six former officers, pleaded guilty to the torture of two Black men.


Six ex-Mississaurus police officers pleaded guilty on Monday to all state charges against them related to the torture and abuse of two Black men, one of whom was shot in the mouth.

The former officers, including five deputies and an officer from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office and a sixth member of the Richland Police Department, entered pleas on Monday after admitting to federal charges related to the January incident that the victims had claimed was race-related.

Christian Dedmon, Hunter Elward, Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, and Daniel Opdyke, as well as former police officer Joshua Hartfield, were charged with conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, according to a news release from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office.

Dedmon was charged with home invasion, while Elward was accused of home invade and aggravated assault. Additionally, McAlpin, Middleton, Opdyke, and Hartfield were charged together with first-degree obstruction of justice.

The list of former Rankin County Sheriff’s deputies includes Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, Christian Dedmon, Frin, Hunter Elward, Daniel Opdyke, and Joshua Hartfield.

In Rankin County court on Monday, all six individuals appeared with their attorneys, who were wearing prison jumpsuits and shackled at the wrists. The names of the county jails where they are being held were covered by duct tape.

The ex-officers pleaded guilty to federal charges on August 3, where US prosecutors claimed that they kicked the door down and assaulted Black men for two hours in their home in Braxton, Mississippi.

The officers were not issued with a warrant and instead called themselves ‘The Goon Squad’ due to their willingness to use excessive force without reporting it, as stated in prosecutors’ federal charging document.

According to a news release from the Justice Department, the six officers were charged with 13 felonies for their involvement in torture and physical abuse of two men on that night.

Attorneys for McAlpin, Dedmon, and Middleton, Elward, Hartfield and others have been contacted by CNN to seek comment, but none of them responded.

The former officer of Opdyke has reportedly acknowledged his guilt and will plead guilty to all charges against him in Rankin County Circuit Court on August 14, as stated by an attorney.

Jeffery Reynolds, the attorney representing Opdyke, informed CNN that the defendant acknowledges his role in the heinous offenses committed against Mr. Jenkins and Mr.” Parker and is willing to accept responsibility for his misconduct.

The former officers, Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker, were accused by CNN of promoting their behavior based on race in a lawsuit.

In June, a federal lawsuit was filed by Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker, who claimed that officers unlawfully entered their home and handcuffed, kicked, waterboarded und tased, and attempted to sexually assault them for almost two hours before being shot by one of the deputies.

The lawsuit alleges that the deputies were oppressive and hateful towards African-American victims, using racial epithets as a basis for their violent actions.

During the plea hearing on Monday, Parker told reporters that he had been impressed by the “walk of shame.”

“I desire that this lesson is valuable for all of us. We can expect justice.”

One of six former Mississippi law officers, Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo, is seen at the Rankin County Circuit Court in Brandon, Mississippi, where Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker are present as one of them plead guilty to state charges.

The manner in which the abuse and shooting occurred.

A federal charging document reveals that Dedmon sent a text message on January 24 to Elward, Middleton, and Opdyke asking if they could visit the Braxton property to resolve McAlpin’s complaint. McAlbin was informed by his White neighbor that several Black men were staying at he White woman’s home and reported seeing suspicious behavior.

The document stated that Dedmon cautioned the deputies against being caught on surveillance cameras at the property by advising them to knock on the door instead of kicking it down if they see any. If they do so, they can barge in without a warrant.

The defendants were not allowed to use bad mug shots, as stated in the charging document, but they could forcefully remove body parts that were otherwise visible. Dedmon informed Hartfield that he would accompany them.

Dedmon, Opdyke, and Elward evaded a surveillance camera above the front door by breaking down the carport door while Hartfield kicked open the back door. They encountered Parker, who was living there to help care for the woman who owned the property, as well as his friend Jenkins, whom he had only been acquainted with briefly.

According to the document, the White officers engaged in grueling beatings of the two men for an extended period of two hours, including throwing milk, alcohol, and chocolate syrup into their mouths. Elward also threw eggs at the men, while Dedmon poured grease on Parker’s head.

Elward was reported to have pulled out a bullet from his gun, placed it in Jenkins’ mouth, and then fired the gun into his mouth. The document also stated that the bullet caused injuries to Jenkins’ tongue, jaw, armour, elbows, wristcaps on his face as well as fractures in his jaw.

The charging document stated that the officers created a cover story and discussed planting ‘a gun’ Middleton had in his patrol car with Jenkins, Elward placed BB (32mm-33mm) and discarded one shell casing; Hartfield then threw the men’s dirty clothes into the woods, and took the hard drive from the home’S surveillance system, which was found to be damaged and trashed in ice.

On Wednesday, July 5, 2023, activists converge on the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office in Brandon, Mississippi, where five former deputies and one former Richland police officer were arrested on suspicion of assaulting two Black men.

In June, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey announced that his deputies had been dismissed, but he did not specify the number or identities of those who were let go. Meanwhile, in July, the Richland Police Department reported that Hartfield, who was off-duty during the alleged assault, had resigned.

Bailey, who is not facing charges, has declared that he will not step down. He expressed his desire for the guilty pleas to bring justice to Parker and Jenkins in a statement on Monday.

Bailey stated that the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office is constantly reviewing and revising its policies, procedures, and training for all employees. He also mentioned that they have requested assistance from outside organizations and hired outside firms to evaluate us, make recommendations, or conduct training. These measures are implemented to prevent a repeat of the January accident.

Bailey is the sole candidate standing for reelection in November.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the date on which the officers entered guilty pleas to federal charges, which was mistakenly set as August 3.

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