Torture in Mississippi: former police officer sentenced to 40 years

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  • By Nadine Yousif and Brandon Drenon
  • bbc news


Former police officers face decades in prison. Christian Dedmon (top center) and Daniel Opdyke (bottom center) will be sentenced Wednesday

A former Mississippi police officer has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for torturing two black men in a home.

Christian Dedmon, 29, is one of six officers convicted of the January 24, 2023 attack.

Three other former officers have been sentenced to a total of more than 54 years in prison for the attack.

Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker were beaten, shocked with stun guns, and sexually assaulted by officers.

In court, Jenkins said Dedmon was the “most evil” of his attackers, in a statement read by his lawyer.

“Deputy Dedmon is the worst example of a police officer in America,” Jenkins said. Dedmon had planted drugs on Mr Jenkins in an attempt to frame him.

He still has trouble speaking after being shot in the mouth as part of a mock execution during the ordeal.

Officers were responding to a call in the Rankin County town of Braxton in which a neighbor reported seeing suspicious behavior and black men staying at a white woman’s home.

The police entered the house without a warrant.

Jenkins and Parker were handcuffed, beaten and taunted with racial slurs during an attack that lasted an hour and a half.

District Judge Tom Lee said Dedmon had carried out the “most shocking, brutal and cruel attacks imaginable” against the two black men and a white man during a traffic stop weeks earlier.

A few hours before Dedmon learned his fate on Wednesday, Daniel Opdyke was sentenced to 17.5 years.

Brett McAlpin and Joshua Hartfield, the last two former officers convicted in the case, will be sentenced Thursday.

Five are former Rankin County sheriff’s deputies, while the sixth, Hartfield, was with Richland police. They called themselves Goon Squad. They are all white.

Dedmon’s family was in court, some crying and with their eyes closed as prosecutors recounted his conduct.

He apologized and said he would never forgive himself, although he did not directly address the victims like the three former officers who preceded him.

During his sentencing, Opdyke cried and told the two victims that he had been reflecting on “the monster I became that night.”

“The weight of my actions and the damage I have caused will haunt me every day,” he said.

Hunter Elward and Jeffrey Middleton were the first to be sentenced Tuesday.

Elward, who shot Jenkins during the mock execution, was sentenced to 20 years.

Middleton, the leader of the so-called Goon Squad, was sentenced to just over 17 years.

The group pleaded guilty to federal civil rights crimes in August.

They were charged with conspiracy against rights, obstruction of justice, deprivation of rights under color of law, discharge of a firearm under a crime of violence and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey, for whom the officers worked, faces a separate $400 million (£314 million) lawsuit for allegedly failing to properly train the officers.

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