In a shocking case of police brutality, the sentencing of six ex-cops for the torture of two black men in Mississippi is postponed again.
By Darius Spearman (africanelements)
- Sentencing for six former Mississippi officers is delayed to March 19.
- The officers brutally assaulted Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker.
- The case has triggered calls for Sheriff Bryan Bailey’s removal.
- The ex-cops pleaded guilty to 16 federal charges in August 2023.
- Community leaders express frustration over the sentencing delay.
- Additional state charges have been filed by Mississippi’s Attorney General.
Mississippi, USA – In a case that has stirred national outrage and deepened concerns over police misconduct, the sentencing of six former Mississippi law enforcement officers, convicted of torturing and sexually assaulting two black men, has been postponed once again.
The former officers, identified as Brett McAlpin, Christian Dedmon, Jeffrey Middleton, Hunter Elward, Daniel Opdyke, and Joshua Hartfield, were due to be sentenced on January 16, 2024, but the proceeding was delayed until March 19. This marks the second postponement, leaving the community and victims’ families in continued anticipation of justice.
On January 24, 2023, the officers, five from Rankin County Sheriff’s Office and one from Richland Police Department, brutally assaulted Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker in a warrantless raid on a residence in Braxton, Mississippi. The attack, described as racially motivated torture, included the use of stun guns, a sex toy, and other forms of physical abuse. Shockingly, one of the men was also shot in the mouth during this horrifying ordeal.
The officers, who pleaded guilty in August 2023 to a total of 16 federal charges, including conspiracy against rights, deprivation of rights under color of law, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice, were dubbed the “Goon Squad” for their aggressive tactics.
Local community leaders and activists, led by Tasha Parker and Kareem Mohamed, have expressed their disappointment and frustration over the repeated delays in sentencing. The case has sparked calls for the removal of Sheriff Bryan Bailey and for broader reform within Rankin County law enforcement.
Attorney Malik Shabazz, representing the victims, emphasized the need for swift justice. “Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker are urging that the sentencing for the ‘Goon Squad’ members take place as quickly as possible,” Shabazz stated, underscoring the gravity of the officers’ crimes and their impact on the community” (The Independent).
This incident is part of a troubling pattern of violent encounters involving Rankin County officers, with at least four such
incidents since 2019, including two resulting in fatalities and another causing lasting injuries. The severity of these cases, particularly the torture and sexual assault of Jenkins and Parker, has raised serious questions about the conduct of law enforcement in the region and the broader issue of systemic racism within police departments across the country.
In response to these events, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has filed additional charges against the six officers, including aggravated assault, home invasion, and obstruction of justice. These state-level charges are a testament to the gravity of the officer’s actions and the state’s commitment to seeking justice.
The community’s response has been one of solidarity and determination. Protests and economic actions are being planned should the sentences be deemed too lenient. Priscilla Sterling, a relative of Emmett Till, related the current events to the historical context of racial violence in Mississippi, underscoring the deep-rooted issues at play.
As the nation watches, the delayed sentencing of these former officers remains a focal point in the ongoing conversation about police brutality, racial injustice, and the need for comprehensive law enforcement reform. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly have significant implications for the pursuit of justice and equity in Mississippi and beyond.
About the author:
Darius Spearman is a Professor of Black Studies at San Diego City College, where he has been pursuing his love of teaching since 2007. He is the author of several books, including Between The Color Lines: A History of African Americans on the California Frontier Through 1890. You can visit Darius online at africanelements.org