Watch CBS News

All 6 officers from Mississippi "Goon Squad" have been sentenced to prison for torturing 2 Black men

More "Goon Squad" torture sentencings
Mississippi "Goon Squad" officers sentenced for torturing Black men 06:19

Sentencing has concluded for the six white former officers in Mississippi who pleaded guilty to breaking into a home without a warrant and torturing two Black men.

High-ranking former deputy Brett McAlpin, 53, received a sentence of about 27 years and was the fifth former law enforcement officer sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Tom Lee after pleading guilty to the attack. The assault involved beatings, the repeated use of stun guns and assaults with a sex toy before one of the victims was shot in the mouth in a mock execution. The final member of the group, 32-year-old former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield, was given a sentence of about 10 years Thursday afternoon.

Before his sentencing, McAlpin apologized to victims Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker. 

"This was all wrong, very wrong. It's not how people should treat each other, and even more so, it's not how law enforcement should treat people," McAlpin said, though he did not look at the victims as he spoke. "I'm really sorry for being a part of something that made law enforcement look so bad." 

Lee has also sentenced four other former law enforcement officers who were involved in the attack. Christian Dedmon was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in that attack and another incident in December 2022. Hunter Elward was sentenced to over 20 years in prison. Two other officers, Jeffrey Middleton and Daniel Opdyke, were each sentenced to 17.5 years in prison. 

Mississippi Deputies Sentencing
This combination of photos shows, from top left, former Rankin County sheriff's deputies Hunter Elward, Christian Dedmon, Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, Daniel Opdyke and former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

For each of the deputies sentenced so far, Lee has handed down prison terms near the top of the sentencing guidelines. Lee has previously called the officers' actions "egregious and despicable."

The terror began Jan. 24, 2023, with a racist call for extrajudicial violence when a white person in Rankin County complained to McAlpin that two Black men were staying with a white woman at a house in Braxton. McAlpin told Dedmon, who texted a group of white deputies asking if they were "available for a mission."

"No bad mugshots," Dedmon texted — a green light, according to prosecutors, to use excessive force on parts of the body that wouldn't appear in a booking photo.

Dedmon also brought Hartfield, who was instructed to cover the back door of the property during their illegal entry.

Once inside, the officers mocked the victims with racial slurs and shocked them with stun guns. They handcuffed them and poured milk, alcohol and chocolate syrup over their faces. Dedmon and Opdyke assaulted them with a sex toy. They forced them to strip naked and shower together to conceal the mess, and Hartfield guarded the bathroom door to make sure the men didn't escape.

Mississippi Deputies Sentencing
Michael Corey Jenkins, right, and Eddie Terrell Parker, left, stand with their local attorney Trent Walker, as he calls on a federal judge at a news conference Monday, March 18, 2024, in Jackson, Miss. Rogelio V. Solis / AP

After Elward shot Jenkins in the mouth, lacerating his tongue and breaking his jaw, they devised a coverup. McAlpin pressured Parker to go along with it, asking him to keep quiet in exchange for his freedom. The deputies agreed to plant drugs, and false charges stood against Jenkins and Parker for months.

McAlpin and Middleton, the oldest men of the group, threatened to kill the other officers if they spoke up.

The majority-white Rankin County is just east of Jackson, home to one of the highest percentages of Black residents of any major U.S. city. The officers shouted at Jenkins and Parker to "stay out of Rankin County and go back to Jackson or 'their side' of the Pearl River," court documents say.

Opdyke was the first to admit what they did, his attorney Jeff Reynolds said Wednesday. On April 12, Opdyke showed investigators a WhatsApp text thread where the officers discussed their plan and what happened. Had he thrown his phone in a river, as some of the other officers did, investigators might not have discovered the encrypted messages.

Attorneys for several of the deputies said their clients became ensnared in a culture of corruption that was not only permitted, but encouraged by leaders within the sheriff's office.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey, who took office in 2012, revealed no details about his deputies' actions when he announced they had been fired last June. After they pleaded guilty in August, Bailey said the officers had gone rogue and promised changes. Jenkins and Parker called for his resignation and filed a $400 million civil lawsuit against the department. Last November, Bailey was reelected without opposition, to another four-year term.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.