Six former Mississippi law enforcement officers recently pleaded guilty to federal charges related to some shocking and disgusting crimes committed against American citizens. The revelations about these heinous actions caused widespread alarm and outrage throughout the community and raised even more concerns about racially motivated atrocities committed by members of law enforcement.
The Justice Department has filed charges against the officers after an incident in which they tortured, abused, and sexually abused victims.
Warning: The following material is graphic.
Two federal criminal information have been released today, charging six former Mississippi officers with a total of 16 felonies arising from the torture and abuse suffered by three Rankin County residents in two separate incidents. These include the discharge of a firearm during a violent criminal act, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction.
Today, six defendants pleaded guilty in federal court, including former Richland Police Department officers Daniel Opdyke and Hunter Elward, both of whom were former Richland Police Department Officers.
The defendants admitted that they had entered a home in Braxton in Rankin County, Mississippi, where M.J. They arrested the men without a warrant or any evidence that they committed a crime. The defendants called the men racial slurs, warned them to not return to Rankin County, and punched and kicked them. Dedmon also shot his gun twice to intimidate them.
Elward pulled a bullet from the chamber of his gun, inserted it in M.J.’s mouth, and then pulled the trigger. It exited from his neck.
After torturing the two men, the officers did not bother to seek medical attention. Instead, they went outside and began devising a plan for how to cover it up. One of the officers was to put a gun into the man’s hands and destroy all surveillance footage. The officers would fabricate drug evidence and create false reports before accusing the victim of a crime that he did not commit.
The officers are expected to plead guilty to any criminal charges brought by the state.
This is not the only incident where officers from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department are accused. In the past four years, other reports have detailed alleged incidents in which its officers abused African-American men. Another person said that an officer shoved a pistol into his mouth. A deputy kneeled down on the neck of a victim and killed him.
This horrific case has sparked calls for reform in the county’s police department. One of the sticking points is the fact that Rankin County police officers are not required to wear body cameras, which casts further suspicion on law enforcement in the area. Scenarios like this easily lead to the perception that they would rather not have their actions documented on video footage because they know many of their officers are up to no good. However, this situation could be rectified sooner rather than later, if House Bill 757, which would require all officers to wear body cameras, were to pass.
The sentences for the officers are still unknown. They have pleaded to charges which carry up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. These people may also face life imprisonment. Sentencing will occur in November.
This case shows how important it is for police officers to be held responsible when they abuse their positions. The fact that these officers will not be punished further complicates the situation.
It’s not too late to stop corrupt and abhorrent behavior by police officers. This case reminds us that we must hold law enforcement accountable for mistreating Americans.