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2 final Mississippi 'Goon Squad' members sentenced to prison in torture and abuse of Black men

The six former Rank County sheriff’s deputies admitted to subjecting two Black men, Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, to acts of racist torture.
Former Rankin County sheriff’s deputy Brett McAlpin and Joshua Hartfield, a former Richland police officer, in court in Brandon, Miss., on Aug. 14.
Former Rankin County sheriff’s deputy Brett McAlpin and Joshua Hartfield, a former Richland police officer, in court in Brandon, Miss., on Aug. 14.Rogelio V. Solis / AP file

JACKSON, Miss. — A judge sentenced two former Mississippi sheriff's deputies from a self-described "Goon Squad" to federal prison Thursday for the torture and abuse of two Black men in a racist attack.

Brett Morris McAlpin, 53, was ordered to serve 327 months, which is more than 27 years.

And Joshua Hartfield, 32, the final former deputy to be sentenced, was ordered to serve 121 months, or about 10 years.

McAlpin and Hartfield are two of the six former Rankin County sheriff’s deputies who admitted to subjecting two Black men, Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, to acts of racist torture.

“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 attack on citizens they had sworn to protect,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Thursday.

McAlpin pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including conspiracy against rights, obstructions of justice, deprivation of rights under color of law and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

McAlpin was brought into the courtroom of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi wearing handcuffs and leg shackles, offering a nod to his family members in attendance.

In January 2023, McAlpin received a call from a white person who complained that Jenkins and Parker were residing with a white woman at a house in Braxton, Mississippi.

McAlpin then texted a group that self-described as "The Goon Squad" — a group that the Justice Department said were known "for using excessive force and not reporting it."

The "Goon Squad" consisted of McAlpin, Hartfield, Christian Dedmon, 29, Jeffrey Middleton, 46, Hunter Elward, 31, and Daniel Opdyke, 28.

The group then went to the home without a warrant, The Associated Press reported, and assaulted the two Black men with stun guns, forced them to ingest liquids, punched and kicked them and called them racial slurs.

The Justice Department said the two men were also assaulted with a dildo. Dedmon also fired his gun twice in an effort to intimidate the men, the department said.

Elward removed a bullet from the chamber of his gun and forced the gun into Jenkins' mouth before pulling the trigger. No bullet was fired the first time, but he pulled the trigger a second time and lacerated tongue, broke his jaw and a bullet exited out of his neck, according to the Justice Department.

Image: Michael Corey Jenkins, Eddie Terrell Parker
Michael Corey Jenkins, third from left, and Eddie Terrell Parker, right, with supporters outside the courthouse in Jackson, Miss., on Tuesday.Rogelio V. Solis / AP

The judge sentenced Dedmon to 40 years and Opdyke to 17.5 years on Wednesday. He gave nearly 20 years to Elward and 17.5 years to Middleton on Tuesday.

Jenkins’ attorney read a victim statement on his behalf ahead of the sentencing, describing McAlpin as the “highest man in charge.”

“Brett McAlpin said he would pour gasoline on this house and set it on fire,” the statement said. “I felt like a slave.”

Parker read his own victim impact statement, saying that McAlpin thought himself to be "the mob" and asked the judge to sentence him to "years and years" so that McAlpin could think about what he did.

"Sick, sick, sick. ... Seems like I have a little more respect, a little more dignity than the chief investigator if Rankin County," Parker said.

McAlpin was able to address the court and his voice wavered several times as he spoke. Although he apologized to both men for his actions, he stared ahead, never turning back to look at them or their families.

"This was all wrong — very, very wrong," McAlpin said. "This is not how people should treat each other.”

“I hope your families’ can move on and have a better life.”

For Hartfield's sentencing, an attorney read victim impact statements on behalf of both Jenkins and Parker. Jenkins described Hartfield as a "thug" and said the group of former deputies was "no better than a street gang with badges."

“I’m hurt, I’m broken, I’m ashamed and embarrassed by the entire situation," Jenkins said in his statement. "They tried to take away my manhood.”

Parker's statement described a constant fear that someone would break into his home and terrorize him all over again.

“They should be given what they gave me and Michael Jenkins, which is no mercy," Parker said.

Hartfield sobbed at some points during his apology in court, saying he should have stepped in to stop what was happening and protect both men.

“I allowed others to influence me. … I am taking full responsibility," he said, adding that he has lost countless hours of sleep over the attack.

He added that he knows words will never be enough for either Parker or Jenkins but that he is "so sorry. I really am."

U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee noted that while Hartfield participated in a lesser manner than the other five men, he still made bad choices. Hartfield was the "least involved and the least culpable," said Lee, who said he was conflicted over the sentence.

"You seemed to have landed in the middle of something you did not intend and didn’t anticipate," Lee said. "You actively participated on a much more limited basis … but you participated nonetheless.”

Tom Junod reported from Jackson, Mississippi, and Doha Madani reported from New York City.