Mississippi deputies fired after Black man was shot in the face during drug raid
The DOJ has opened a civil rights probe into the January incident.
Months after a January drug raid that left a Black man with a gunshot wound to the face, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi announced Tuesday that five of its deputies have been fired or resigned from the department.
This announcement comes just weeks after the two men involved in the incident, Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, filed a lawsuit in collaboration with Black Lawyers for Justice against the sheriff’s department seeking $400 million in damages.
On Jan. 24, Rankin County deputies entered the residence of Jenkins and Parker without a warrant that resulted in both Black men being beaten, sexually assaulted with a sex toy and shocked with Tasers for roughly 90 minutes while handcuffed, according to the lawsuit. Eggs were also hurled at the two men, and Jenkins, 32, was eventually shot in the face by one of the deputies, the lawsuit states. Deputies say they were there to carry out a late drug raid.
“We understand that the alleged actions of these deputies has eroded the public’s trust in our department,” Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey said in a statement on Tuesday. “Rest assured that we will work diligently to restore that trust.”
Although Sheriff Bailey did not name the deputies who have resigned or been terminated, the defendants in the plaintiff’s lawsuit include Rankin County Deputies Hunter Elward, Brett Mc'Alpin and Christian Dedmon, and three unidentified deputies under the name "John Doe.”
Bailey is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit.
“We have cooperated with all investigation efforts related to this incident and have provided all information and data requested in a timely manner,” Bailey said on Tuesday. “This will continue until all investigative efforts are complete and justice is served. We cannot, however, confirm or deny any specific facts related to this incident because of active and ongoing investigations.”
As the Rankin County Sheriff's Department conducted its own internal investigation, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations (MBI) and the Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into this incident earlier this year.
"The FBI Jackson Field Office, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi have opened a federal civil rights investigation into a color of law incident involving the Rankin County Sheriff's Office. The FBI will conduct the investigation in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner," the FBI Jackson statement read.
The FBI Jackson Field Office did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the MBI said it did not wish to provide ABC News with any further comment.
Bailey specified the deputies involved in the incident were terminated “due to recent developments,” including discoveries in the department’s internal investigation, but the plaintiff's attorney Malik Shabazz said he believes it was “due to the extreme pressure” of the lawyers and DOJ investigation that may result in possible indictments.
Jenkins, Parker and their attorneys are hoping criminal charges will follow quickly behind the deputies' termination.
"Too many crimes occurred during the nearly two-hour violent ordeal for there to not be criminal charges in this case. The only question is, which criminal charges? We are hoping for the stiffest," Shabazz told ABC News.
Both Jenkins and Parker were present during Wednesday’s family press conference but did not provide any statements to the media.
“We're expecting state Attorney General Lynn Fitch to levy criminal charges, serious criminal charges, against these deputies right away if there's justice in the state of Mississippi,” Shabazz said during Wednesday’s press conference.
A spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office in a statement to ABC News said it does not comment on active cases.
Jenkins' mother, Mary Jenkins, explained the termination of the deputies is “not enough.”
“All they’ll do is go to another police department and get on and do the same thing. I want them prosecuted,” Mary Jenkins said.
Mary Jenkins said her son is still having a difficult time with his injuries, with the pain in his jaw “almost unbearable” at times. She shared he has seen many doctors, including a psychiatrist and a speech therapist to work on speaking again.
The medical bills have exceeded six figures “and are continuing,” according to attorneys.
Jenkins was charged with aggravated assault and the possession of two grams of a controlled substance. Parker was charged with obstruction of justice, according to the attorneys.
Both Jenkins and Parker deny the substance found in the residence belonged to them.
“The charges have not been dropped or pursued,” Shabazz said.