Mississippi Sheriff Fires Deputies Accused of Abusing Black Men Amid Federal Probe

by Madison Thomas
Mississippi sheriff

The Mississippi Sheriff’s Department has taken action by firing or receiving resignations from all five deputy sheriffs involved in an incident where two Black men alleged they were subjected to physical abuse, sexual assault, and a gunshot wound to the mouth. The decision was announced on Tuesday.

The incident occurred several months ago when Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker claimed that deputies from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department forcefully entered a residence without a warrant. According to Jenkins and Parker, the deputies subjected them to beatings, sexual assault using a sex toy, and repeated electrocution with Tasers during an ordeal lasting approximately 90 minutes on January 24th.

Jenkins recounted that one of the deputies placed a gun in his mouth and discharged it, resulting in severe injuries to his face, tongue, and jaw. In response to this incident, the U.S. Department of Justice initiated a civil rights investigation into the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey disclosed on Tuesday that the deputies involved in the episode had been terminated, with some having already resigned. However, he did not disclose the identities of the terminated deputies or provide specific details on the number of law enforcement officers affected. Bailey declined to answer further questions regarding the incident.

Bailey’s announcement follows an investigation conducted by Big Big News, which revealed that several deputies involved in the incident had also been connected to at least four previous violent encounters with Black men since 2019, resulting in two fatalities and another individual sustaining long-lasting injuries. It was determined that deputies who were members of the sheriff’s office’s Special Response Team, a specialized tactical unit, were involved in all four encounters.

The deputies claimed that the raid on Jenkins’ residence was prompted by a report of drug activity. However, records obtained by the Associated Press from police and court documents identified Hunter Elward and Christian Dedmon as two of the deputies involved in the Jenkins raid. It remains uncertain whether any of the deputies have legal representation available to provide comments on their behalf.

In a telephone interview, Jason Dare, an attorney representing the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, stated that the department was aware of five deputies participating in the Jenkins raid. Jenkins and his attorney contend that six deputies were present during the incident. However, all five deputies identified by the department have either been terminated or resigned.

No body camera footage of the incident exists. Records obtained by the Associated Press indicate that the deputies deployed Tasers, turning them on and off or utilizing them multiple times over a span of approximately 65 minutes before Jenkins was shot.

Jenkins and Parker have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, seeking $400 million in damages. In response to the termination of the deputies, their attorney, Malik Shabazz, issued a statement on Tuesday expressing appreciation for the officers’ dismissals and urging the state attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue criminal indictments against the deputies.

“The termination of the Rankin County Mississippi Sheriff’s deputies involved in the torture and shooting of Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker is a significant step toward justice in one of the most appalling law enforcement tragedies in recent history,” Shabazz said. “Sheriff Bryan Bailey has finally taken action after endorsing much of the violence that has occurred under his leadership in Rankin County.”

Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Big Big News/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 on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mikergoldberg.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mississippi sheriff

Q: What happened in the incident involving the Mississippi deputy sheriffs and the Black men?

A: According to the victims, the deputies from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department entered a home without a warrant and allegedly beat, sexually assaulted, and shot one of the Black men involved. The incident is currently under federal investigation.

Q: What actions have been taken against the deputies involved in the incident?

A: All five deputies who responded to the incident have either been fired or resigned from their positions in the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department.

Q: Is there any evidence supporting the allegations made by the victims?

A: There is no body camera footage of the incident. However, records indicate that Tasers were used multiple times before the victim was shot. The victims have also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking damages.

Q: How has the sheriff responded to the incident?

A: Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey announced the termination of the deputies involved and acknowledged that the alleged actions have eroded public trust in the department. He stated that efforts will be made to restore that trust.

Q: Have there been any previous incidents involving these deputies and Black men?

A: An investigation revealed that some of the deputies involved in this incident were linked to at least four previous violent encounters with Black men, resulting in two deaths and one person sustaining lasting injuries.

Q: What is the current status of the investigation?

A: The U.S. Department of Justice has initiated a civil rights investigation into the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department following this incident. The victims’ attorney has called for criminal indictments by the state attorney general and the Justice Department.

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LilyRose June 28, 2023 - 11:01 am

The fact that there were previous violent encounters involving these deputies is deeply concerning. This is a pattern that cannot be ignored. The community deserves transparency, and the deputies should face appropriate consequences. #JusticeForAll

Sarah87 June 28, 2023 - 8:48 pm

It’s heartbreaking to read about the horrific treatment the Black men endured at the hands of those deputies. The firing of the officers is long overdue. Let’s hope the civil rights lawsuit brings them the justice they deserve.

Mark22 June 28, 2023 - 11:03 pm

Mississippi sheriff takin action against dose deputies is a step in da right direction. dey shudn’t be allowed to abuse their power like dis. da victims deserve justice and a fair investigation. #AccountabilityMatters

Dave32 June 29, 2023 - 12:08 am

This is why we need better oversight and accountability for law enforcement. It’s shocking to see such abuse of power. Kudos to the victims for seeking justice and to the DOJ for opening an investigation. We must root out systemic misconduct.


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