Former Mississippi police officers plead guilty to torturing Black men News
diegoparra / Pixabay
Former Mississippi police officers plead guilty to torturing Black men

Attorney General of Mississippi Lynn Fitch announced on Monday that six Rankin County police officers pleaded guilty to the torture and abuse of two Black men. The announcement follows the officers’ guilty plea to federal charges earlier this month. In all, the officers pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated assault, home invasion, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice.

“Today, a strong message has been sent: abuse of power will not be tolerated in Mississippi,” said Fitch. “The six officers who committed these heinous acts caused more than physical harm, they severed the vital trust with the people they pledged to protect.”

The charges stem from a January 24 incident in which the officers broke down a door without a warrant and started assaulting the two Black men present. They handcuffed them, shouted racial slurs, told them not to stay in Rankin County, attacked them with a taser and sexually assaulted them with a sex toy. Additionally, the officers used their weapons to further intimidate and abuse the men at home, firing them repeatedly and even putting their guns in one man’s mouth. No investigation or charges originally occurred until reporting from the Associated Press made the incident public.

The severity of the case resulted in a federal civil rights investigation. “The defendants in this case tortured and inflicted unspeakable harm on their victims, egregiously violated the civil rights of citizens who they were supposed to protect, and shamefully betrayed the oath they swore as law enforcement officers,” said US Attorney General Merrick Garland earlier this month.

Police brutality, and its disproportionate impact on Black communities, is a major issue in the United States. Human rights experts have previously called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the systemic mistreatment of Black people by US police, and racial disparities in policing played a major role in catalyzing the historic 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. These guilty pleas come one week after a former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in the 2020 killing of George Floyd.