More than six months ago, six Braxton, Mississippi, police officers entered the home of two Black men without a warrant after a white neighbor called Rankin County Deputy Brett McAlpin and complained that the two men were staying with a white woman, according to the Associated Press. McAlpin reportedly told Deputy Christian Dedmon, who texted a group of white deputies who called themselves “The Goon Squad” (likely because replacing the “g” with a “c” would have been too on the noose—I mean, the nose) and asked the deputies, “Are y’all available for a mission?”
On Thursday, all of the involved officers of the law, McAlpin, Dedmon, Hunter Elward, Jeffrey Middleton, Daniel Opdyke of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, and Joshua Hartfield, a Richland police officer, pleaded guilty to federal 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 after they brutalized, tortured and sexually assaulted Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker.
Already, this story out of Mississippi sounds like a prelude to a reconstruction-era race massacre or an alternate ending to an Emmett Till-like story in which the victims survive. Only this story didn’t take place in the late 19th or early 20th century, or during Jim Crow.
This happened in 2023.
Federal court records detail how they burst into a home without a warrant, handcuffed Jenkins and Parker, assaulted them with a sex toy and beat Parker with wood and a metal sword. They poured milk, alcohol and chocolate syrup over their faces and then forced them to strip naked and shower together to conceal the mess.
Then one of them put a gun in Jenkins’ mouth and fired.
As Jenkins lay bleeding, they didn’t render medical aid. They knew the mission had gone too far and devised a hasty cover-up scheme that included a fictitious narcotics bust, a planted gun and drugs, stolen surveillance footage and threats.
After Dedmon summoned “The Goon Squad,” the officers crept around the ranch-style home to avoid a surveillance camera. They kicked down the carport door and burst inside without a warrant.
Opdyke found a sex toy, which he mounted on a BB gun he also found and forced into Parker’s mouth. Dedmon tried to sexually assault Jenkins with the toy. The officers repeatedly electrocuted the victims with stun guns to compare whose weapons were more powerful.
Elward forced Jenkins to his knees for a “mock execution” by firing without a bullet, but the gun discharged. The bullet lacerated Jenkins’ tongue and broke his jaw before exiting his neck.
As Jenkins bled on the floor, the officers devised a cover story for investigators: Elward brought Jenkins into a side room to conduct a staged drug bust over the phone and Jenkins reached for a gun when he was released from handcuffs.
Middleton offered to plant an unregistered firearm, but Elward said he would use the BB gun. Dedmon volunteered to plant methamphetamine he had received from an informant. Jenkins was charged with a felony as a result, but the charges were later dropped.
Opdyke put one of Elward’s shell casings in a water bottle and threw it into tall grass nearby. Hartfield removed the hard drive from the home’s surveillance system and later tossed it in a creek.
In June, all six officers were fired, but they hadn’t been arrested yet. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch had been accused of ignoring the case, and it probably didn’t help that, in July, she asked an appeals court to set free former Jackson detective Anthony Fox, who, in 2019, was convicted of culpable negligence manslaughter for beating to death 62-year-old Black man George Robinson.
But now the AG’s office appears to be trying to show that it isn’t the pro-blue-on-Black-lynching office it appeared to be, and on Thursday, it announced that it filed state charges against the ex-cops including assault, conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
The officers had kept quiet about their Ku Kop Klan activities for months after threatening to kill any of their fellow officers who told on them. According to AP, Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey called their horrifically violent crimes the worst instance of police brutality he has seen in his career, and he said he had been lied to by the officers under his command and that he first learned about what they did when he read unsealed court documents. But AP noted that “some of the deputies, including McAlpin and Elward, had worked under Bailey for years and been sued several times for alleged misconduct.” An AP investigation “also 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.”
Bailey might have a difficult time selling the notion that officers who worked for him for years and had an alleged history of committing horrific violence against Black men took him completely by surprise when they admitted to committing horrific violence against Black men.
Still, now Bailey has no problem referring to the six ex-cops as “criminals,” as did U.S. Attorney LaMarca, who said Thursday, “Now, they’ll be treated as the criminals they are.”
Of course, that still remains to be seen at sentencing.
The post 6 Mississippi Ex-Cops Plead Guilty To Brutalizing, Torturing And Sexually Assaulting 2 Black Men appeared first on NewsOne.
6 Mississippi Ex-Cops Plead Guilty To Brutalizing, Torturing And Sexually Assaulting 2 Black Men was originally published on newsone.com
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