Several Mississippi deputy sheriffs who were accused of sexually assaulting two black men and shooting one of them in the face have either been fired or resigned, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.
The announcement came after the two men, Michael Corey Jenkins, 32, and Eddie Terrell Parker, 35, filed a federal lawsuit against the officers earlier this month. The lawsuit alleges that six deputies from Rankin County « forced their way into » Mr. Parker’s home in Braxton, Miss., and broke into the property without a warrant on January 24.
It was then that Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Parker said they were beaten and stunned with tasers, abused with a sex toy and forced to strip naked in an ordeal that lasted nearly two hours.
Their lawsuit identified three deputies involved in the raid as Hunter Elward, Brett McAlpin and Christian Dedmon, along with three others named as John Doe 1-3. The former MPs had no defense attorneys listed and could not be reached.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said in a statement Tuesday that the deputies involved in the incident had previously been placed on administrative leave. They have not been identified by the authorities.
Some of the deputies involved in the case had previously resigned, but Sheriff Bailey did not say how many had resigned and how many had been fired. He also didn’t elaborate on the specific reasons for their firings. An attorney representing the sheriff’s department referred to Sheriff Bailey’s statement.
« Due to recent developments, including the findings during our internal investigation, those deputies who were still employed in this department have been fired, » the sheriff said.
« We understand that the alleged actions of these deputies have eroded public trust in our department, » Sheriff Bailey said in the statement. « Be assured that we will work diligently to restore that trust. »
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety said in January that Rankin County deputies were conducting a narcotics investigation at the home when someone « was holding a gun at the deputies. »
During the raid, deputies tried to put a sex toy in Mr Jenkins’ and Mr Parker’s mouths, and turned Mr Jenkins onto his stomach in an attempt to use the sex toy on him « from behind, » their view said. complaint. . The evidence presented with the complaint included photos showing a sex toy left at the scene.
The lawsuit further alleges that the deputies, who are alleged to be white, called Mr Jenkins and Mr Parker racial slurs, beat them, shot them several times with Taser guns, made them strip naked and showered together, threw eggs at them and waterboarded them.
A deputy put a gun in Mr Jenkins’ mouth while he was handcuffed and fired the weapon, shattering his jaw and lacerating his tongue « severely », the complaint said.
In a news conference held on Wednesday over a video call, Malik Shabazz, a lawyer for Mr Parker and Mr Jenkins, described the raid as « one of the worst episodes of police brutality ».
Mr. Shabazz said he expected Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch to file a criminal charge against the fired deputies. Ms Fitch has not filed any charges and her office did not comment on the case Wednesday.
Mr. Jenkins was charged with assaulting an officer and drug possession, and Mr. Parker was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct, according to The Associated Press. It was unclear whether such charges were still pending.
Mary Jenkins, Mr. Jenkins’ mother, said on the video call that Sheriff Bailey should resign and that she wanted the fired deputies « prosecuted. »
« It’s not enough to fire those cops because all they’re going to do is go to another police department, go ahead and do the same thing, » Ms. Jenkins said. « They are here to protect and serve, but who will protect us from them? »
When asked to separate Press conference On calls to resign on Tuesday, Sheriff Bailey said, « I’m not resigning. »
In an interview in March, Mr Shabazz said there was no evidence Mr Jenkins and Mr Parker, who are friends, had a gun or drugs at the house during the raid. After the raid, Mr. Shabazz said Mr. Jenkins needed several surgeries.
Mr. Jenkins sat next to his mother during Wednesday’s press conference. Mr Jenkins did not speak because Mr Shabazz said he would later be a witness in the case.
Ms Jenkins said her son would face challenges « for the rest of his life » due to injuries sustained when he was shot in the face. Ms Jenkins said her son needed to be fed with a syringe at times and that she had to work with a speech therapist to be able to speak again.
Christine Hauser contributed report.