Former Mississippi police officers face sentencing for brutal mistreatment case

Six former Mississippi police officers are set to be sentenced for the brutal mistreatment of two black men in their residence.

The victims endured beatings, stun gun shocks, and sexual assaults at the hands of the officers, who forcibly entered the home without a warrant in 2023. Additionally, one victim suffered a gunshot wound to the mouth during the ordeal, BBC reports.

The group, which dubbed itself the “Goon Squad“, pleaded guilty to federal civil rights offences in August.

They are all due to be sentenced this week, starting on Tuesday.

The first of the officers, Hunter Elward, will be the first sentenced, followed by the other five: Christian Dedmon, Brett McAlpin, Jerffrey Middleton, Daniel Opydke and Joshua Hartfield.

Each faces the possibility of decades in prison on the charges, which include conspiracy against rights, obstructions of justice, deprivation of rights under colour of law, discharge of a firearm under a crime of violence, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Six former Mississippi police officers
Six former Mississippi police officers

According to prosecutors, the officers – all of whom are white – were responding to a call about suspicious activity in the Rankin County town of Braxton when they entered the home of Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker.

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The two men were handcuffed and subject to an hours-long assault in which they were repeatedly beaten, shocked and mocked with racial slurs.

One deputy officer also shot Mr Jenkins in the mouth during a botched mock execution, cutting his tongue and breaking his jaw.

On Monday, Mr Jenkins and Mr Parker called for the “stiffest of sentences” to be meted out on the former officers.

“It’s been very hard for me, for us,” Mr Jenkins told the Associated Press. “We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

Three of the six officers in the case have also pleaded guilty to a separate incident involving a 28-year-old white victim. The details of that incident are still unclear.

Subsequent investigations by the New York Times, Mississippi Today and the Associated Press found that the 2023 incident was part of a larger pattern of violent police misconduct spanning decades.

An investigation by The Associated Press found that some officers were involved in at least four other violent incidents, resulting in two deaths.The officers were working for Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey, who is facing a $400 million lawsuit for allegedly not adequately training them.Bailey has requested the dismissal of the lawsuit and, after a period of silence, promised to make changes in the department following the officers’ guilty pleas in August.

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