Several deputies in Mississippi’s Rankin County Sheriff’s Department have engaged in excessive force, police brutality, and abuse unchecked for years, according to reports.
The department was initially thrust into the national spotlight after five deputies from the department, who referred to themselves as the “Goon Squad,” tortured and sexually assaulted Michael Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, two Black men, during a raid earlier this year.
According to court documents and incident reports obtained by Business Insider, the violent incident is among several examples of police brutality that officers have gotten away with for years.
Two of the officers involved in the torture of Jenkins and Parker, Christian Dedmon and Hunter Elward, were also reportedly present for the deaths of two other Black men in 2019 and 2021.
One incident report reveals that Elward punched Damien Cameron at least three times and tased him before his death. According to Monica Lee, Cameron’s mother, deputies knelt on his back for over 15 minutes despite complaints that he couldn’t breathe.
Elward and Dedmon were also present for the police shooting of Pierre Woods in February 2019, according to documents.
Other deputies in the department also engaged in violence and abuse that sometimes went on for hours, seemingly to strike terror into their victims, according to witnesses interviewed by the New York Times.