Several Mississippi deputy sheriffs who were accused of sexually assaulting two Black men and shooting one of them in the face have been fired or have resigned, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday.
The announcement came after the two men, Michael Corey Jenkins, 32, and Eddie Terrell Parker, 35, filed a federal lawsuit against the officers earlier this month. The lawsuit claims that six Rankin County deputies “forcibly entered” Mr. Parker’s home in Braxton, Miss., and raided the property without a warrant on Jan. 24.
That’s when Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Parker said that they were beat and stunned with Tasers, abused with a sex toy and made to strip naked in an ordeal that lasted nearly two hours.
Their lawsuit identified three deputies involved in the raid as Hunter Elward, Brett McAlpin and Christian Dedmon, along with three others referred to as John Doe 1-3. The former deputies did not have defense lawyers listed and could not be reached.
Sheriff Bryan Bailey of Rankin County said in a statement on Tuesday that the deputies involved in the episode had previously been placed on administrative leave. They were not identified by the authorities.
Some of the deputies involved in the case had previously resigned, but Sheriff Bailey did not say how many had resigned and how many had been fired. He also did not elaborate on the specific reasons for their dismissals. A lawyer representing the sheriff’s department referred comments to the statement from Sheriff Bailey.
“Due to recent developments, including findings during our internal investigation, those deputies that were still employed at this department have been terminated,” the sheriff said.
“We understand that the alleged actions of these deputies has eroded the public’s trust in our department,” Sheriff Bailey said in the statement. “Rest assured that we will work diligently to restore that trust.”
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety said in January that Rankin County deputies were conducting a narcotics investigation at the home when someone “displayed a gun toward the deputies.”
During the raid, deputies tried to put a sex toy in the mouths of Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Parker, and turned Mr. Jenkins onto his stomach in an attempt to use the sex toy on him “from the rear,” their complaint said. Evidence submitted with the complaint included photos that showed a sex toy left at the scene.
The lawsuit also claims that the deputies, who the complaint says are white, called Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Parker racial slurs, beat them, fired Taser guns at them several times, made them strip naked and shower together, threw eggs at them and waterboarded them.
One deputy put a gun in Mr. Jenkins’s mouth while he was handcuffed and fired the weapon, shattering his jaw and “severely” lacerating this tongue, the complaint said.
At a news conference on Wednesday held over a video call, Malik Shabazz, an lawyer for Mr. Parker and Mr. Jenkins, described the raid as “one of the worst occurrences of police brutality.”
Mr. Shabazz said that he was expecting the Mississippi attorney general, Lynn Fitch, to pursue criminal charges against the fired deputies. Ms. Fitch has not filed any charges and her office did not comment on the case on Wednesday.
Mr. Jenkins was charged with assaulting an officer and drug possession, and Mr. Parker was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct, according to The Associated Press. It was unclear whether those charges were still being pursued.
Mary Jenkins, Mr. Jenkins’s mother, said on the video call that Sheriff Bailey should resign, and that she wanted the fired deputies to be “prosecuted.”
“It’s not enough to fire those deputies because all that they’ll do is go to another police department, and get on and do the same thing,” Ms. Jenkins said. “They’re here to protect and serve, but who is going to protect us from them?”
When asked at separate news conference on Tuesday about calls for him to step down, Sheriff Bailey said, “I’m not resigning.”
In an interview in March, Mr. Shabazz said there was no evidence that Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Parker, who are friends, had a gun or drugs at the home during the raid. After the raid, Mr. Shabazz said that Mr. Jenkins needed several surgeries.
Mr. Jenkins sat beside his mother during the news conference on Wednesday. Mr. Jenkins did not speak because Mr. Shabazz said he would later be a witness in the case.
Ms. Jenkins said that her son would face challenges “for the rest of his life” because of the injuries he sustained when he was shot in the face. Ms. Jenkins said that her son needed to be fed with a syringe, at times, and that he had to work with a speech doctor to be able to speak again.
Christine Hauser contributed reporting.