Mississippi ‘Goon Squad’ officer jailed 27 years for racist attack

Mississippi ‘Goon Squad’ officer jailed 27 years for racist attack
Mississippi ‘Goon Squad’ officer jailed 27 years for racist attack

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A former Mississippi policeman who carried out a brutal attack on two Black men with fellow white officers who called themselves the "Goon Squad" was sentenced March 19, 2024 to 20 years in prison. — AFP pic

WASHINGTON, March 22 — A former Mississippi sheriff’s deputy who took part in the torture of two Black men with fellow white officers who called themselves the “Goon Squad” was sentenced to 27 years in prison yesterday.

Brett McAlpin, four other former members of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and a former member of the Richland Police Department pleaded guilty in August to multiple offences.

McAlpin, 53, and Joshua Hartfield, 32, the Richland policeman, were the final members of the group to be sentenced on charges that included civil rights conspiracy, deprivation of rights and obstruction of justice.

McAlpin, the highest-ranking deputy, received more than 27 years in prison yesterday while Hartfield was sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

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The stiffest sentence was meted out by Judge Tom Lee on Wednesday to sheriff’s deputy Christian Dedmon, 29, who was given 40 years in prison.

Sheriff’s deputy Hunter Elward, 31, who shot one of the men in the mouth during the attack, was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison while Jeffrey Middleton, 46, and Daniel Opdyke, 28, were each given 17-year terms.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement after the first sentencing on Tuesday, saying the officers had committed a “heinous attack on citizens they had sworn an oath to protect.”

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The Justice Department, Garland said, “will hold accountable officers who violate constitutional rights, and in so doing, betray the public trust.”

“These defendants kicked in the door of a home where two Black men were residing, handcuffed and arrested them without probable cause, called them racial slurs, and punched, kicked, tased, and assaulted them,” the attorney general said.

According to the Justice Department, the law enforcement officers used a sex toy, Tasers and a sword in an hours-long attack on Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker.

All six acknowledged that while responding to a report of suspicious activity on January 24, 2023, they entered the house without a warrant and began a sustained and unprovoked attack on Jenkins and Parker.

Elward at one point removed a bullet from the chamber of his gun and forced his weapon into Jenkins’ mouth before pulling the trigger, the Justice Department said.

“Elward racked the slide, intending to dry-fire a second time. When Elward pulled the trigger, the gun discharged. The bullet lacerated M.J.’s tongue, broke his jaw and exited out of his neck.”

As the critically injured Jenkins lay bleeding, the officers set about fabricating evidence to justify their actions, including planting a gun and drugs.

Jenkins survived the shooting and attended the sentencing along with Parker.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Parker said in an interview with the local WAPT television channel. “It’s still a surreal feeling that we still dream about.” — AFP

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