Final member of Mississippi ‘Goon Squad’ sentenced for involvement in assault of Black men News
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Final member of Mississippi ‘Goon Squad’ sentenced for involvement in assault of Black men

The last of the six members of the Mississippi law enforcement group known as the “Goon Squad,” Joshua Hartfield, was sentenced to just over ten years in prison on Thursday for his involvement in the January 2023 torturing of two Black men.

All six officers were terminated and pleaded guilty to their involvement in the January 2023 torturing of Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker. Known as the “Goon Squad,” the officers broke into a home and subjected the two victims to torture that lasted for hours, which included tasering, waterboarding, and assault, all before Jenkins was shot in the mouth by one of the officers.

On Wednesday, the same court sentenced Daniel Opdyke and Christian Dedmon to 17.5 years and 40 years in prison, respectively. Brett McAlpin, another one of the six, was given a 27.25-year prison sentence on Thursday. On Tuesday, Hunter Elward was sentenced to 20 years and Jeffrey Middleton was sentenced to 17.5 years.

Following the sentencing of all six officers involved in the crime, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark of the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division released a statement. Clark said:

By holding these officers accountable, we are sending a clear message that law enforcement abuse of Black people, or any American, will not be tolerated in our country. These six white law enforcement officers sought to dehumanize two innocent Black men through cruel, violent, and lawless abuse. The defendants didn’t count on the victims’ courage to come forward and tell the truth or the justice system to hold them accountable. The court imposed severe sentences reflecting the defendants’ savagery, including the longest federal sentence in recent years for a civil rights police misconduct case. Justice demands accountability, especially when the defendants’ actions not only scarred the victims physically and emotionally, but also harmed the entire community, stripping away their sense of security, corroding trust and respect for the police.

The charges the officers pleaded guilty to involve conspiracy against rights, obstructions of justice, deprivation of rights under color of law, discharge of a firearm under a crime of violence, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

“The depravity of the crimes committed by these defendants cannot be overstated, and they will now spend between 10 and 40 years in prison for their heinous attacks on citizens they had sworn to protect,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland.