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    2 more Mississippi deputies sentenced for roles in 'Goon Squad' torture of 2 Black men

    By Doug Cunningham & Mike Heuer,


    March 20 (UPI) -- Former Mississippi sheriff's deputies Daniel Opdyke and Christian Dedmon on Wednesday became the latest members of the self-described Rankin County "Goon Squad" to be sentenced to prison for the 2023 torture of two Black men.
    Michael Corey Jenkins, pictured before and after being assaulted by six former Rankin County Sheriff's deputies. The third of the six deputies, Daniel Opdyke, was sentenced Wednesday. The fourth, Christian Dedmon, was set for sentencing later Wednesday afternoon. Photo courtesy of Black Lawyers For Justice.

    U.S. District Judge Tom Lee sentenced former deputy Christian Dedmon to 40 years in federal prison Wednesday afternoon for his role in the prolonged beating and torture of Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Parker.

    Dedmon said he entered law enforcement to "make a difference" and wished he could take back the harm that he caused. Federal prosecutors said Dedmon was the most perverse of the six "Goon Squad" deputies and has a history of excessive force.

    Dedmon, 29, received the longest sentence so far among the six deputies accused of torturing the two men. Dedmon also pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting one of the men and awaits sentencing in state court after pleading guilty in August to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and home invasion.

    Lee earlier Wednesday sentenced Opdyke to 17 and a half years in prison. Opdyke also must undergo treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues and pay $79,500 in restitution to the victims.

    On Tuesday two other former deputies were sentenced. Hunter Elward got 20 years in prison. Jeffrey Middleton was sentenced to more than 17 years.

    Sentencing is expected for remaining former deputies Joshua Hartfield and Brett McAlpin Thursday.

    Elward apologized during his sentencing Tuesday. Parker said he forgives him, but Jenkins told CNN afterward that Elward's apology meant nothing .

    Middleton apologized, as well.

    But Parker's victim's statement, read in court by attorney Mark Shabazz, said he doesn't think Middleton was remorseful.

    All six men pleaded guilty in federal court in August to conspiracy against rights, deprivation of rights under color of law, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and obstruction of justice.

    The six former deputies broke into a private home in Braxton, Miss. last year without a warrant and assaulted the Black men for about 90 minutes, using a Taser on them over a dozen times while using racial slurs against them, too.

    In an accident during a mock execution, Elward fired a gun at Jenkin's mouth, causing permanent damage.

    Guns were also held to both men's heads.

    Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey fired the deputies in June 2023 for crimes against Jenkins and Parker.

    The victims filed a $400 million lawsuit alleging unlawful imprisonment and torture.

    In addition to being shot and hit with a Taser charge, the lawsuit said the men were waterboarded, punched while handcuffed naked, and were victimized by attempts to sexually assault them.

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