Last Monday, six former Mississippi law enforcement officers pleaded guilty to state charges related to the torture of two black men after recently pleading guilty to federal civil rights charges in the case, ABC News reported.
In January, the six white officers, including five deputies from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office and an off-duty Richland police officer, conducted a warrantless entry into a house where they handcuffed the two men and assaulted them with stun guns and other objects for 90 minutes while mocking them with racial slurs. The deputies then conspired to cover up the crime by planting a gun and drugs.
However, the cover-up fell apart after one of the deputies admitted to the Rankin County Sheriff that he lied. Ultimately, the other officers also confessed.
However, the charges against the two black men were not dropped until June when federal and state officials opened a civil rights investigation into the incident.
The six men were former Rankin County deputies Christian Dedmon, Hunter Elward, Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, and Daniel Opdyke, as well as former Richland Police officer Joshua Hartfield.
All six pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiracy to hinder prosecution. One of the former deputies, Hunter Elward, also pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for shooting one of the two victims in the mouth in what prosecutors described as a “mock execution.” He and former Deputy Christian Dedmon also pleaded guilty to home invasion for kicking in the door of the house.
According to federal court documents, the victims, Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, were targeted after a white neighbor reported two black men staying at the home with a white woman.
Parker and Jenkins have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking $400 million in damages against Rankin County.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey lauded the guilty pleas that stemmed from the investigation saying it shows the community that the “system of checks and balances is effective.”