MPs accused of shoving weapons into the mouths of two black men – KGET 17

BRANDON, Miss. (AP) – Several deputies with a Mississippi sheriff’s department, who are being investigated by the Justice Department for possible civil rights violations, have been involved in at least four violent encounters with black men since 2019 that have left two dead and another with permanent injuries, it has been revealed. an Associated Press survey.

Two men allege Rankin County sheriff’s deputies shoved guns into their mouths during separate encounters. In one case, a deputy pulled the trigger, leaving a man with lacerations that required parts of his tongue to be sewn back on. In one of the two fatal confrontations, the man’s mother said a deputy knelt on her son’s neck as he told them he couldn’t breathe.

Police and court records obtained by the AP show that each of the four encounters involved several deputies recruited into the sheriff’s office’s Special Response Team, a tactical unit whose members receive advanced training. In three of them, the heavily redacted documents do not indicate whether they served in their normal capacity as deputies or unit members.

Such units were critical after the January killing of Tyro Nichols, a black father who died days after being severely beaten by black men by special police officers in Memphis, Tennessee. Nichols’ death led to a Justice Department investigation into similar squads across the country that comes amid a broader public showdown over race and policing sparked by the 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In Mississippi, the police shooting of Michael Corey Jenkins prompted the Department of Justice to open a civil rights investigation into the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department. Jenkins said six white deputies burst into the house where he was visiting a friend, and one put a gun to his mouth and fired. Jenkins’ hospital records, portions of which he shared with the AP, show he had a lacerated tongue and a broken jaw.

Deputies said Jenkins was shot after pointing a gun at them; Department officials did not respond to multiple AP inquiries about whether a weapon had been found at the scene. Jenkins’ attorney, Malik Shabazz, said his client did not have a gun.

“They had complete control over him the whole time. The six officers had full and complete control over Michael the entire time,” Shabazz said. “So it’s just a fabrication.”

Rankin County, which has about 120 sheriff’s deputies serving its roughly 160,000 people, is predominantly white and east of the state capital, Jackson, which has one of the highest percentages of blacks of any major American city. In the Brandon County seat, a tall granite and marble monument topped by a statue of a Confederate soldier stands across from the sheriff’s office.

In a notice of impending lawsuit, attorneys for Jenkins and his friend, Eddie Terrell Parker, said that on the night of Jan. 24, deputies suddenly entered the home and proceeded to handcuff and beat them. They said deputies tasered them repeatedly over the course of about 90 minutes and, at one point, forced them to lie on their backs while deputies poured milk over their faces. The men repeated the allegations in separate interviews with the AP.

When the Taser is used, it is automatically logged into the device’s memory. The AP obtained automated Taser recordings from the evening of Jan. 24. They show deputies first fired one of the stun guns at 10:04 p.m. and fired at least three more times over the next 65 minutes. However, those unredacted records may not paint the full picture, as the redacted records show Tasers were on, off or used dozens more times during that period.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was brought in to investigate the encounter. His summary said the deputy shot Jenkins at approximately 11:45 p.m., or about 90 minutes after the Taser was first used, matching the time frame provided by Parker and Jenkins. The bureau did not release the deputy’s name.

Police say the raid was prompted by a tip about drug activity at the home. Jenkins was charged with possession of between 2 and 10 grams of methamphetamine and aggravated assault on a police officer. Parker was charged with two misdemeanors – possession of paraphernalia and disorderly conduct. Jenkins and Parker say the raid came to a head when the deputy shot Jenkins through the mouth. He still has difficulty speaking and eating.

Another black man, Carvis Johnson, alleged in a federal lawsuit filed in 2020 that a Rankin County deputy put a gun to his mouth during a 2019 drug bust. Johnson was not shot.

There’s no reason for an officer to put a gun in a suspect’s mouth, and the allegations of two such incidents speak to that, said Samuel Walker, professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska.

“If there are incidents with the same pattern of behavior, they have their own rules,” he said. “So these are not just random experiences. It looks like a very clear pattern.”

Jenkins does not know the name of the deputy who shot him. In a heavily redacted incident report, the unidentified deputy wrote, “I noticed a gun.” The unredacted portions do not say who shot Jenkins, only that he was taken to the hospital. Deputy Hunter Elward swore in a separate court document that Jenkins pointed the gun at him.

Elward’s name also appears in police reports and court records from two incidents in which the suspects were killed.

The sheriff’s department declined repeated requests for interviews and denied access to any of the deputies involved in the violent confrontations. The department did not say whether the deputies issued a search warrant, and it is unclear whether some have been disciplined or are still members of the special unit.

News outlet Insider is investigating the sheriff’s department and convinced a district judge to order the sheriff to turn over documents related to the deaths of four men in 2021. Magistrate Troy Farrell Odom’s office expressed confusion that the department refused to release the documents.

“(The) day our officers started shielding this information from the public, all the while saying, ‘Trust us. We are from the government,’ is a day that should startle all Americans,” Odom wrote.

The AP has requested dash cam or dash cam footage from the night of Jenkins’ raid. Jason Dare, an attorney for the sheriff’s department, said he had no record of any.

Mississippi does not require police officers to wear body cameras. Incident reports and court records link deputies from the raid to three other violent encounters with blacks.

During the 2019 standoff, Elward said Pierre Woods pointed a gun at him as he ran toward deputies. The deputies then shot and killed him. In a statement to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation obtained by the AP, Elward said he shot Woods eight times. Police say they found a gun at the scene of the Woods shooting.

Court records name Christian Dedmon, another deputy who shot Woods, in the attack on Jenkins.

Dedmon was also among the deputies involved in Johnson’s 2019 arrest, according to a lawsuit filed by Johnson that alleges one of the deputies put a gun in his mouth while they were searching him for drugs. Johnson is currently in prison for selling methamphetamine.

Other documents obtained by the AP detail another violent confrontation between Elward and Damien Cameron, a 29-year-old man with a history of mental illness. He died in July 2021 after being arrested by Elward and Deputy Luke Stickman, who also opened fire on Woods during the standoff in 2019. A grand jury declined to indict the case last October.

In the incident report, Elward wrote that while responding to a vandalism call, he repeatedly shocked Cameron with a Taser, punched him and tackled Cameron at his mother Monica Lee’s home. He said that after taking Cameron to his squad car, he startled him again to force him to get his feet into the vehicle.

After going back inside to retrieve their Taser, deputies returned to find Cameron unresponsive. Elward wrote that he pulled Cameron from the car and performed CPR, but Cameron was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Lee, who witnessed the confrontation, told the AP that after subduing her son, Elward knelt on his son’s back for several minutes. She said that when Stickman arrived, he knelt on her son’s neck while handcuffing him, and that her son complained that he couldn’t breathe.

Lee said she went outside later, hoping to talk to her son before deputies chased him away.

“I went outside to tell him goodbye and that I love him, and that I will try to see him the next day. That’s when I noticed they were on the driver’s side of the car doing CPR on him,” Lee said. “I fell to the ground screaming and yelling.”


Michael Goldberg is a staff member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues. Follow him on Twitter at

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