Monica Lee sat outside of her parents’ home, where an ex-sheriff’s deputy in Mississippi brutally assaulted her son, who died in the hospital hours later. It was a sweltering afternoon in Braxton, a town comparable to where, in another case in January, six white law enforcement officers tortured two other Black men, stunning veteran federal prosecutors, elected officials, and average citizens. Elward was never found guilty of a crime, as he was never indicted by a grand jury. Two years later, he would plead guilty to blatant acts of violence made possible by a police culture that had festered for years, said Lee.
Five Rankin County Sheriff’s Office deputies, some of whom called themselves the Goon Squad, and a Richland Police Department officer acknowledged participating in a racist assault against Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker. Federal prosecutors have declassified court documents indicating that only a portion of the Goon Squad participated in the assault. Lee, speaking to The Associated Press the day after Elward’s guilty pleas, expressed delight that he will be sent to federal prison. The attorney for Elward did not respond promptly to a request for comment.
Assault and Evidence Planting on Innocent Black Couple
When a white neighbor complained on January 24 that Black individuals were staying with a white woman, officers went to the residence and discovered Jenkins and Parker. They entered the building without a warrant and apprehended the men. They assaulted the couple physically and sexually before shocking them with stun weapons. They ridiculed them while pouring milk, alcohol, and chocolate syrup on their faces and using racial slurs. Elward inserted a firearm into Jenkins’ mouth and discharged, resulting in a tongue wound. In order to conceal their wrongdoing, they planted narcotics on Jenkins.
According to court documents, the officers warned Jenkins and Parker to leave Rankin County and return to Jackson or their side of the Pearl River, as if they were channeling their dread as a means to compound their physical abuse with maximum psychological terror. Elward, Christian Dedmon, Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, and Daniel Opdyke of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office, and Joshua Hartfield of the Richland Police Department all pleaded guilty. Due to the incompetence of Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey, the officers believed they could act with impunity, according to Angela English, president of the Rankin County NAACP.
Bailey, who claimed that the officers lied to him, assured reporters on Thursday that he would not resign. Damien Cameron would still be alive if a stronger internal system for conducting oversight had been in place, according to Lee, and the January incident would not have occurred. Jenkins and Parker, who are uncertain as to whether they are going back to the state for a longer time, discovered solace in the fact that a certain aspect of the legal system appeared to have been effective.