Mississippi Deputies Sentenced to Prison for Torture of Black Men

JACKSON, Miss. – Two former Mississippi deputies faced sentencing in a federal court for their involvement in a horrific case where they, along with four other white officers, broke into a home and tortured two Black men. U.S. District Judge Tom Lee handed down a 40-year prison sentence to Christian Dedmon and a 17½-year sentence to Daniel Opdyke.

During the sentencing, Judge Lee denounced the extreme cruelty of the deputies and described Dedmon’s actions as “shocking, brutal, and cruel.” Dedmon himself expressed remorse, acknowledging the pain he caused the victims. One of the victims, Michael Corey Jenkins, who was shot in the mouth during the incident, shared a statement through his lawyer, condemning Dedmon’s actions as depraved.

Prior to this sentencing, Hunter Elward and Jeffrey Middleton were also sentenced to nearly 20 years and 17½ years, respectively, for their roles in the attack. These former deputies, along with Opdyke and Dedmon, served as Rankin County sheriff’s deputies at the time of the incident.

The six defendants admitted guilt for breaking into a home without a warrant and torturing Jenkins and Parker, with Dedmon planting drugs on Jenkins to frame him on false charges. The events unfolded after a complaint was made to the officers about two Black men staying with a white woman in Rankin County.

Opdyke expressed deep remorse during his sentencing and apologized to the victims for his actions that night, displaying regret for the harm he had caused. The victims, Jenkins and Parker, recounted the trauma they endured, with Jenkins describing himself as “broken” and “ashamed.”

Following months of denial, the defendants finally admitted to their actions, revealing a gruesome series of events that included racial slurs, physical abuse, and a cover-up involving planting drugs and false charges against the victims. The incident shed light on a culture of misconduct within the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office.

As the case unfolded, details emerged of prior violent encounters involving the former officers, leading to investigations and charges being brought against them. The heinous attack sparked outrage and condemnation from officials, including U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, for the betrayal of public trust and abuse of power by those sworn to protect citizens.

In the aftermath, calls for accountability and systemic change grew louder, with lawsuits filed against the department and demands for resignations at the highest levels. The case exposed a dark underbelly of abuse and corruption within law enforcement, highlighting the urgent need for reforms to prevent such atrocities from occurring in the future.