Former White Mississippi officers plead guilty in egregious case of torture, sexual abuse and cover-up to brutalizing Black men

In a deeply unsettling case that rekindles discussions on racial violence and police misconduct, six former Mississippi police officers from a group notoriously referred to as the “Goon Squad” have pleaded guilty to a series of heinous crimes stemming from a January incident in Braxton, Mississippi.

The incident began when a complaint was lodged about two Black men, Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, along with a white woman residing in the same household. Responding to the call, the six officers forcefully entered the home without prior warning. Over the course of an hour, they subjected Jenkins and Parker to a barrage of physical and psychological torture. This involved the use of racial slurs, electrocution with stun guns, and pouring unidentified liquids into their mouths, according to an Associated Press release.

Shockingly, the maltreatment didn’t stop there. The officers went further, coercing the two men to take a joint shower in an attempt to erase any lingering evidence of the police-inflicted assault. Court documents have also reported the appalling detail of the two victims being sexually abused with a sex toy by these officers.

The violence reached a terrifying climax when one officer, seemingly trying to execute a mock execution on Jenkins, placed a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger, grievously injuring him. Recounting the ordeal, Jenkins said to People, “I thought I was dead.” His counterpart, Parker, added, “At the end, I did say we were about to die.”

But the audacity of the officers didn’t end at the assault. They subsequently tried to incriminate the two victims, planting drugs and weapons in the aftermath. However, their facade unraveled when one officer confessed to lying about the episode. This confession culminated in the identification and subsequent charging of all six officers: Brett McAlpin, Hunter Elward, Christian Dedmon, Jeffrey Middleton, Daniel Opdyke, and Joshua Hartfield.

The breadth of their crimes spans from obstruction of justice, home invasion to aggravated assault. The officers, based on their convictions, could potentially serve anywhere between five to thirty years. They have also conceded guilt in federal civil rights violations. On the legal front, Jenkins and Parker have initiated a $400 million civil lawsuit against these officers.

More disturbingly, investigations have unveiled that this wasn’t the Goon Squad’s first act of violence. Reports trace back multiple violent confrontations against Black men to 2019, inclusive of two instances where guns were forcefully placed in men’s mouths. Tragically, two Black men lost their lives in encounters with this squad.

While these officers await their judicial fate, their actions resonate far beyond Mississippi. The magnitude of their transgressions not only evokes memories of Mississippi’s turbulent racial past but has also sparked national discourse on police violence, particularly against Black individuals. The seemingly prolonged impunity that this “Goon Squad” enjoyed accentuates the pressing need for greater accountability within the police force. Their overdue apprehension offers a semblance of justice, yet underscores the imperative for sweeping and substantive reform.

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