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 April 13, 2024

Six Former Mississippi Officers Sentenced For Torture And Racial Abuse Of Two Men

In a shocking legal development, six ex-officers from the Rankin County sheriff's office in Mississippi were sentenced on state charges. They were found guilty of torturing two African American men, Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker.

The Daily Mail reported that six former police officers from Mississippi have been sentenced for inflicting brutal racial abuse and physical torture on two black men.

The officers were associated with a notorious group within the sheriff's department, dubbed the 'Goon Squad'. Their abusive conduct involved beating, sexual assault, waterboarding, and electrocution. These actions were targeted against the residents based on racial prejudices and without any legal warrants.

The Incident In A Mississippi Home

In January 2023, the officers forcibly entered a home in Braxton following a biased complaint about the racial makeup of the occupants. This illegal raid was executed without any judicial warrant, which is a fundamental violation of civil rights.

During this unwarranted intrusion, Deputy Hunter Elward engaged in the horrifying act of shooting Michael Jenkins during a 'mock execution'. This violent act caused Jenkins serious physical injuries and profound trauma. It was part of a broader strategy by the squad to intimidate and oppress individuals based on race.

The abuse extended to planting false evidence. The squad placed drugs and a firearm in an attempt to fabricate criminal charges against Jenkins and Parker, further supported by the Sheriff's Department.

Legal Repercussions and Federal Sentencing

Initially, the officers faced federal charges, where they received varied sentences ranging from 10 to 40 years in prison. However, the case led to additional state charges due to the gravitas of their misconduct.

Deputy Hunter Elward's federal sentence was notably increased from 20 to 45 years, reflecting the severity of his actions and his direct involvement in the mock execution that nearly killed Jenkins. All six officers admitted to conspiracy to obstruct justice, with additional charges like home invasion and aggravated assault for some.

The state and federal charges collectively underscore the magnitude of the crimes committed by these former law enforcement officers.

Community Reaction And Legal Statements

The sentencing took place in a poignant setting, directly across from a Confederate monument, a stark reminder of the deep-seated racial issues in the area. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch condemned the officers' betrayal of public trust and highlighted the damage to communal law enforcement relationships.

Statements from the NAACP and victims further illustrate the community's demand for thorough investigations and reforms within the Rankin County Sheriff's Department. They call for reopening cases managed by the implicated officers, suggesting systemic issues within the department.

NAACP President Angela English remarked on the broader implications of the case, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive cleanup within the sheriff's department to restore public trust and ensure justice.

The Victims' Harrowing Testimony

Michael Jenkins described the inhumane treatment and racial slurs he endured. According to him, not only did the officers physically torture him, but they also attempted to strip him of his dignity and left him to die. Jenkins highlighted the permanent impact of the ordeal on his life.

Both Jenkins and Parker have filed a $400 million federal lawsuit, seeking justice and compensation for the grave injustices they suffered. This lawsuit underscores their commitment to holding the responsible parties accountable and preventing future abuses of power.

In his statements, Jenkins expressed a heart-wrenching sentiment, equating his experience to being metaphorically killed by the actions of these officers — a powerful testament to the severity of the abuse.

Moving Forward After The Verdict

The distressing episode in Mississippi not only resulted in significant legal consequences for the involved former officers but also ignited a broader discussion about racism, policing, and justice in America. Attorney General Lynn Fitch and the NAACP's English have both spoken on the importance of healing and reforms going forward.

The conclusion of this case does not signify the end, but rather a call to action for continuous and rigorous oversight of law enforcement practices. This tragic incident serves as a pivotal moment for systemic changes to ensure such abuses never occur again.

The necessary legal repercussions faced by the Goon Squad members offer a grim reminder of the vital need for integrity and accountability in law enforcement. The community's response and ongoing federal lawsuit indicate a crucial turning point in addressing racial injustice and reforming police practices.

Written By:
Christina Davie

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