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Mississippi ‘Goon Squad’ Officer Sentenced To 20 Years

One of six former Mississippi  law enforcement officers who called themselves the Goon Squad was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday, months after he and his co-defendants pleaded guilty to federal civil rights offenses for torturing and sexually assaulting two Black men and a third white man who has remained anonymous until now, the New York Times reports.  Hunter Elward, the deputy who shot one of the victims in the mouth, received the maximum penalty allowed under his plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Mr. Elward broke down in tears as he stood before a U.S. District Court judge, Tom Lee, and apologized to the victims and their family members. Mr. Elward turned to face Eddie Parker, 36, and Michael Jenkins, 33, who were tortured and sexually assaulted by the officers during a raid on Mr. Parker’s home. “I hate that I was involved in this,” he said. “I hate what’s happened to them.”

An investigation last November by The New York Times and Mississippi Today revealed that for nearly two decades, deputies in the Rankin County sheriff’s department, many of whom called themselves the Goon Squad, would barge into homes in the middle of the night, handcuff people and torture them for information or confessions. In pursuit of drug arrests, the deputies rammed a stick down one man’s throat until he vomited, dripped molten metal onto another man’s skin and held people down and beat them until they were bloody and bruised, according to dozens of people who said they had witnessed or experienced the raids.


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