Mississippi deputies fired, accused of torturing two Black men
RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Multiple sheriff’s deputies in Mississippi have been fired or resigned after they allegedly beat and sexually assaulted two Black men in January 2023 before shooting one of them in the mouth.
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said Tuesday that the deputies were initially placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. Due to recent developments, including findings during the department’s internal investigation, the deputies that were still employed were terminated. Some had already resigned.
A lawsuit, filed on behalf of Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, is seeking $400 million in damages for alleged abuse by Rankin County deputies. The 14-count suit goes into detail about the alleged misconduct on the night of January 24 in the town of Braxton when Jenkins was shot in his mouth.
Jenkins and Parker said six deputies from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department burst into a home without a warrant. The men said deputies beat them, assaulted them with a sex toy, and shocked them repeatedly with Tasers in a roughly 90-minute period during the Jan. 24 episode.
Jenkins said one of the deputies shoved a gun in his mouth and then fired the weapon, leaving him with serious injuries to his face, tongue and jaw. The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department after the episode.
There is no body camera footage of the episode. Records obtained by the Associated Press show that Tasers used by the deputies were turned on, turned off or used dozens of times during a roughly 65-minute period before Jenkins was shot.
Rankin County deputies Hunter Elward, Brett Mc’Alpin, and Christian Dedmon are among the six named in the lawsuit. Bailey was also listed in the lawsuit.
In a phone interview Tuesday with the Associated Press, Jason Dare, an attorney representing the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, said the department knows of five deputies who conducted the Jenkins raid, not six. All five were either fired or resigned.
According to Bailey, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations (MBI) was requested to conduct an independent investigation into the incident involving deputies. He said the department has cooperated with all investigation efforts related to the incident.
“We understand that the alleged actions of these deputies has eroded the public’s trust in our department. Rest assured that we will work diligently to restore that trust. We have already taken actions to ensure that we serve and protect the public while making sure the rights of all citizens are protected. These actions include a detailed analysis of our policies, procedures, and training of all department personnel. We have also retained a full-time ‘Compliance Officer’ for monitoring of our daily operations and to ensure our department remains compliant with all state and federal law,” Bailey stated.
The MBI probe remains open, as well as a separate investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.