US Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Darren LaMarca announced Thursday at a press conference that six ex-Mississippi law enforcement officers have pled guilty to charges linked to the torture of two Black men.
The ex-cops “called themselves ‘The Goon Squad’ because of their willingness to use excessive force and not report it,” according to a federal charging document, so the news comes after federal charges were filed against them.
“The people of Mississippi and those of Rankin County expect those who enforce the laws to follow the law, clearly these men did not – they held themselves above the law,” LaMarca said. Online federal court documents detail charges of conspiracy to impede justice, obstruction of justice, and deprivation of rights under color of law.
The most serious charge against former Rankin County Sheriff’s Department officer Hunter Elward is that of discharging a firearm during a violent crime. Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, Christian Dedmon, Daniel Opdyke, and Joshua Hartfield are the additional officers named in the charging documents.
The tweet below verifies the news:
6 former Mississippi law enforcement officers who referred to themselves as “the Goon Squad” have pleaded guilty to charges related to the torture of 2 Black men | CNN😡 https://t.co/bD6Vcil463
— GoldenRule1 (@cooperchip1) August 4, 2023
The 24th of January was the date of the occurrence at Braxton, Mississippi, which is located southeast of Jackson. Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker brought it to light by filing a federal civil case. The federal charging papers mirrored many of the charges made in the lawsuit.
The two Black males claim that six White police officers broke into their home and tortured them for about two hours before shooting Jenkins in the mouth.
“The defendants in this case tortured and inflicted unspeakable harm on their victims, egregiously violated the civil rights of citizens who they were supposed to protect, and shamefully betrayed the oath they swore as law enforcement officers,” US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.
Jermicha Fomby, the head FBI agent, called the alleged acts “horrific.” His next statement was, “I did not expect this to be the actions that we would have subjected upon our citizens in the year 2023.”
“On behalf of our clients Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker, Black Lawyers for Justice thanks the United States Department of Justice for the historic legal results choices achieved today,” Malik Shabazz, the lead attorney for the victims, said in a statement.
In an interview last month, Parker told CNN: “Justice is what it all boils down to. I’m just like them, you know, whether they in uniform or not.”
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Former Officers Also Facing State Charges
Mississippi Deputy Attorney General Mary Helen Wall said on Thursday that the six ex-officers are also facing state charges related to the incident, to which they are expected to plead guilty on August 14 as part of a plea deal.
“The egregious conduct of these individuals is a dark stain on law enforcement and erodes the public’s trust in a profession that does so many great things each and every day,” said state Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell in a statement.
According to a press release from the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, each of the policemen has been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. According to the announcement, both Dedmon and Elward have been charged with house invasion and aggravated assault.
It states that first-degree obstruction of justice charges have been filed against McAlpin, Middleton, Opdyk, and Hartfield.
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