6 ex police officers sentenced for torturing 2 Black men in U.S. Mississippi

(Xinhua) 10:25, April 11, 2024

HOUSTON, April 10 (Xinhua) --Six former police officers on Wendeday was sentenced from 15 and 45 years for state charges stemming from torturing two African American men in the southern U.S. state of Mississippi last year.

On Jan. 24, 2023, the group of six white men, who called themselves the Goon Squad, burst into a home in Braxton, the majority-white Rankin County in Mississippi, without a warrant and assaulted Eddie Parker and Michael Jenkins.

The former officers handcuffed, kicked, waterboarded and used Tasers on two Black men and attempted to sexually assault them over nearly two hours.

Hunter Elward, who shoved a gun into Jenkins' mouth and fired in a "mock execution" that went awry at the end of the torture, was sentenced to 45 years on Wednesday.

Christian Dedmon was sentenced to 25 years in jail. Daniel Opdyke, Brett McAlpin and Jeffrey Middleton were each sentenced to 20 years. The sixth, Joshua Hartfield, was sentenced to 15 years.

"The humiliation and embarrassment from the sexual assault is too great for me to talk about...I can't erase my memories but I will struggle to live on. They should be given what they gave me and Michael Jenkins, which is no mercy. I pray for the maximum sentence," Parker said in a victim impact statement read by his attorney in the courtroom.

"They tried to take my manhood from me. They did some unimaginable things to me and the effects of which will last in my life forever. All the things I used to do in my life have been affected. I am a musician and a singer, and now because of the gunshot wound that shattered my jaw, I can no longer do what I love, and that's sing," Jenkins said in his statement.

"After Hunter Elward shot me, they left me to die, bleeding on the floor," Jenkins added. "Your honor, they killed me. I just didn't die."

"Your honor, it is true that me and Eddie, in this event were called racist names." Jenkins said,

"I'm broken inside, and I don't think I will ever be the person I was."

Months before federal prosecutors announced charges in August 2023, an investigation by The Associated Press linked some of the former officers to at least four violent encounters with Black men since 2019 that left two dead and another with lasting injuries.

"This chapter of the book has been written, but the book is not finished," Angela English, the Rankin County chief of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a major U.S. civil rights organization, said on CNN after Wednesday's sentencing.

"We have spoken with the Department of Justice. We have reiterated that we want a clean sweep... We want them to go into the jails and reopen all of these cases that these lawless officers have created. The lives of these people who are still in jail have been ruined by this," he said.

All of their state sentences are to run concurrently with their federal sentences, CNN reported.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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