UNITED STATES NEWS

Mississippi ex-law enforcement charged with civil rights offenses against 2 Black men during raid

Aug 3, 2023, 10:40 AM | Updated: 10:56 am

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Six former law enforcement officers in Mississippi have been charged with federal civil rights offenses against two Black men who were brutalized for more than an hour during a home raid, before an officer allegedly shot one of the men in the mouth.

The charges were unsealed Thursday as the former five Rankin County sheriff’s deputies and another officer — all of whom are white — appeared in federal court.

The two Black men, Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, say the officers burst into a home without a warrant on Jan. 24, then beat them, assaulted them with a sex object and shocked them repeatedly with Tasers over a roughly 90-minute period. The episode culminated with one deputy placing a gun in Jenkins’ mouth and firing, they said.

The charges come after an Associated Press investigation that linked deputies who were involved with the episode to at least four violent encounters with Black men since 2019 that left two dead and another with lasting injuries.

The Justice Department in February launched a civil rights probe into allegations levied by Jenkins and Parker, who filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Rankin County in June, seeking $400 million in damages.

Those charged in the case are former Rankin County Sheriff’s Department employees Hunter Elward, Christian Dedmon, Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton and Daniel Opdyke and former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey announced on June 27 that all five deputies involved in the Jan. 24 episode had been fired or resigned. Hartfield was later revealed to be the sixth law enforcement officer at the raid. Hartfield was off-duty when he participated in the raid, and he was also fired.

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Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow him at: @mikergoldberg.

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Mississippi ex-law enforcement charged with civil rights offenses against 2 Black men during raid