The Rankin County Sheriff’s Department fired five deputies who have been accused of beating and sexually assaulting two Black men, Michael Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, Sheriff Bryan Bailey announced at a press conference Tuesday.
He said the officers had been on administrative leave before their termination. Some of the deputies resigned earlier, but Bailey did not mention how many nor list their names.
“Due to recent developments, including findings during our internal investigation, those deputies that were still employed by this department have all been terminated,” WLBT reported Bailey saying.
Parker and Jenkins’ lawyers Malik Shabazz and Trent Walker filed a lawsuit against Rankin County, Sheriff Bailey and the six deputies on behalf of Jenkins and Parker on June 12. It names three white officers as defendants in the case: Hunter Elward, Brett Mc’Alpin and Christian Dedmon, along with three “John Doe Deputies.”
Jenkins and Parker were in their Braxton, Miss., home on the evening of Jan. 24, 2023, when six Rankin County Sheriff’s deputies allegedly raided the residence without a warrant before beating the men and shooting Jenkins in the mouth, the lawsuit says.
“No reasonable suspicion or probable cause existed for the Defendants’ actions. No cause for warrantless entry into the premises existed,” the lawsuit says. “At this point, nor at any point, did either victim ever resist, run away from, or oppose the deputies in any way.”
The lawsuit says the officers waterboarded Jenkins and Parker using milk and other liquids found in the home. Jenkins and Parker claim the deputies sexually assaulted them using a sex toy, saying it was an attempt to humiliate them.
During a Feb. 15 press conference with Jenkins, Parker and their legal counsel, lead attorney Shabazz depicted the arrest.
“While in handcuffs, racial slurs were used by these six officers calling them n–ger at different points,” The Mississippi Free Press reported Shabazz saying. “In addition, Rankin County deputies, while these men were handcuffed for over 90 minutes, these deputies repeatedly pointed guns to the heads of both men and threatened to kill them.”
The deputies charged Jenkins with aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance and Parker with disorderly conduct and possession of paraphernalia, which Shabazz said were “bogus crimes.”
Jenkins survived the gunshot wound but spent weeks in the University of Mississippi Medical Center, his attorneys said.
The MBI investigates all alleged officer-involved violence against residents.
The FBI, MBI, U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi and the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department are investigating the case of Jenkins and Parker.
“We cannot, however, confirm or deny any specific facts related to this incident because of active and ongoing investigations,” Bailey said at the press conference.
The lawsuit says the deputies “jointly participated and encouraged each other in these outrageous, hateful and violent acts.”
“None of the six deputies intervened [in word or action] to stop any of the aforementioned acts in the course of this ordeal, including the shooting of Jenkins,” it states.
It lists numerous instances in which the named defendants allegedly engaged in violence against civilians and says officers did not have their body cameras turned on in many of the cases.
“Bailey created a custom that Rankin Deputies were permitted to turn off body-worn cameras to cover up their misdeeds,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit alleges that Deputy Elward was also involved in the beating and death of Damien Cameron, who lived Braxton, Miss., in July 2021. Damien Cameron’s mother, Monica Lee Cameron, alleges she saw Elward and Deputy Luke Stickman kneel on her son’s back for over 20 minutes before handcuffing him and dragging him into the police car. Damien Cameron was unconscious and paramedics rushed to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where he died before the trauma team could see him, his mother said.
Monica Lee Cameron said the officers lost the body-camera footage of the arrest.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation looked into the case but closed it on Sept. 20, 2021. The Rankin County Sheriff’s Department did not terminate Stickman or Elward at that time.
Jenkins and Parker have listed complaints against the deputies in the lawsuit, including attempted murder, false imprisonment, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and six counts of deprivation of civil rights. The lawsuit includes one count against Sheriff Bailey for “failure to train” the officers and one count against Rankin County for municipal liability.
Jenkins and Parker requested a jury trial in the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. A judge and date haven’t been set. The men are asking for $400,000 if they win the lawsuit. The defendants didn’t respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit as of press time.