Several Mississippi Deputies Fired After Being Accused of Beating, Torturing, Sexually Assaulting 2 Black Men
Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey announced the firing of several deputies following allegations by two Black men of being tortured, sexually assaulted and shot. The incident is also under federal and state investigation, authorities said.
Multiple Mississippi deputies have been fired or resigned following a federal lawsuit in which two Black men accused them of torturing, beating and repeatedly shocking them with a Taser before a deputy shot one of the men in the face, the Rankin County Sheriff's Office said this week.
The announcement followed a $400 million lawsuit filed earlier this month on behalf of Michael Jenkins and Eddie Terrell, two Black men who allege six white Rankin County deputies stormed into a home without a warrant in January and handcuffed them, beat them, shocked them with Tasers multiple times, assaulted them with a sex toy and waterboarded them for nearly two hours.
One of the deputies allegedly shoved his weapon into Jenkins' mouth as he was forced to kneel on the floor and pulled the trigger, mutilating the man's tongue, shattering his jaw and leaving him unable to properly speak or eat, the lawsuit claims.
"Due to recent developments, including findings during our internal investigation, those deputies that were still employed by this department have all been terminated," said Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey at a Tuesday news conference. "We understand that the alleged actions of these deputies has eroded the public's trust in the department. Rest assured that we will work diligently to restore that trust."
Some deputies involved in what the department had initially said was a response to reports of "drug activity" had already resigned before the others were fired, the sheriff said. He declined to name the deputies or say how many were involved, citing multiple investigations.
Attorney Trent Walker, one of the lawyers involved in the federal lawsuit, told Inside Edition Digital Thursday that the sheriff's annoucement was "too little, too late."
Local authorities have "taken five months to do what should have been done in 24 hours," Walker said. "They tortured these young men."
The federal lawsuit was filed against Sheriff Bailey, deputies Hunter Elward, Brett Mc'Alpin, Christian Dedmond and three unnamed deputies for allegedly carrying out and overseeing "sadistic torture" that included hurling racist slurs including the N-word and "monkeys" at the two men while beating them, tasing them between 20 and 30 times, waterboarding them with liquids found in the home including milk, pelting them with eggs and stripping them naked and forcing them to shower together.
"I think they got drunk on their own sense of power," said Walker.
The attorney also represents the family of another Black man who died in the custody of Rankin County deputies.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Malik Shabazz, who is co-counsel with Walker in the lawsuit, called the January raid “one of the worst occurrences of police brutality.”
Inside Edition Digital reached out for comment Thursday to the sheriff's office, the department's attorney and the law enforcement union representing the department, but has not heard back.
Personal contact information for the named deputies in the federal lawsuit could not be found by Inside Edition Digital.
Sheriff Bailey said Tuesday, “I believe in my heart that this department remains one of the best departments in our state, and I am committed to doing everything in my power to keep this department on a correct path moving forward,” he said, reading from a statement.
Jenkins was charged with drug possession and assaulting an officer. Parker was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct, according to The Associated Press. Walker told Inside Edition Digital that it did not appear those charges were being pursued.
The AP, which recently published an investigation of violent encounters between Black residents and some Rankin County deputies, said "the sheriff’s department refused repeated interview requests and denied access to any of the deputies who were involved in the violent confrontations."
That investigation found that several deputies involved in the January raid were "also linked to at least four violent encounters with Black men since 2019 that left two dead and another with lasting injuries," according to The AP.
Neither the Justice Department nor the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has publicly commented on their probes.
Local authorities have not publicly commented on the federal lawsuit, which was filed June 12.
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