‘The Day Of Justice Has Come’: 2 Black Men Tortured By 6 White Law Enforcement Officers Speak Before Sentencing Hearing

Eddie Parker and Michael Jenkins, both Black men, endured months of disbelief as they attempted to recount the harrowing violence and torture inflicted upon them by six White law enforcement officers. The culmination of their ordeal resulted in Jenkins being shot in the mouth. Now, over a year later, justice may finally be within reach as the officers responsible are set to be sentenced in federal court.

The incident, which occurred on January 24, 2023, came to light after Parker and Jenkins filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in June. Their claims were later corroborated by federal prosecutors in August when the six former Mississippi officers pleaded guilty to a combined total of 13 felonies related to the torture and abuse inflicted upon the two men.

Lead attorney Malik Shabazz, representing Parker and Jenkins, expressed the significance of this moment, not only for Mississippi but for accountability and police brutality nationwide. The former officers, known as “The Goon Squad,” were characterized by their propensity for excessive force and failure to report it.

At a news conference in Jackson, Parker and Jenkins, along with their families and legal team, emphasized the importance of receiving maximum sentences for the officers. They asserted that their pursuit of justice was not only for themselves but also for the nation, the law enforcement community, and future generations.

The six former officers, including Hunter Elward, Brett McAlpin, Christian Dedmon, Daniel Opdyke, Jeffrey Middleton, and Joshua Hartfield, pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy against rights, deprivation of rights under color of law, and obstruction of justice.

Parker and Jenkins are expected to testify in federal court during the sentencing proceedings. Despite enduring unimaginable trauma, Parker expressed his resilience, likening himself to a thornbush that refused to be uprooted. He emphasized the importance of fighting for justice and expressed gratitude for being alive to witness it.

During the news conference, Parker wore a T-shirt bearing the image of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black teenager whose brutal murder became a catalyst for the civil rights movement. He explained that wearing Till’s image was an honor, symbolizing his commitment to seeking justice in the face of adversity.

Angela English of the NAACP urged the judge to apply the maximum sentences, emphasizing the opportunity to set a precedent for accountability and progress. She underscored that this was not 1964 but rather 2024, emphasizing the importance of moving forward while acknowledging the past.

Shabazz highlighted the historic significance of the case, noting that never before had six police officers pleaded guilty and faced sentencing simultaneously in the United States. He stressed the importance of addressing systemic issues and expressed appreciation for the Justice Department’s commitment to civil rights.

The sentencing proceedings are scheduled to take place over the course of several days, with federal prosecutors seeking the maximum penalties for the officers. Hunter Elward faces the most serious charges and could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

In addition to federal charges, the officers also face state charges related to the same incident. The attorneys for Parker and Jenkins are calling for a pattern or practice investigation into misconduct within the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, suggesting that the issue extends beyond the six officers involved in this case.

As the legal proceedings unfold, Parker, Jenkins, and their legal team remain steadfast in their pursuit of justice, determined to hold accountable those responsible for the egregious acts of violence and abuse inflicted upon them.