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June 18, 2024

Former Mississippi ‘Goon Squad’ officer convicted in racist attack is accused of beating inmate

A former Mississippi “Goon Squad” officer convicted in the brutal racist attack of two Black men has been named in a lawsuit for allegedly beating an inmate at the Rankin County jail.

Christopher Mack filed a federal civil lawsuit Tuesday accusing the former Rankin County deputy, Brett Morris McAlpin, and eight others of beating him for 45 minutes following a May 27, 2021, arrest.

Mack suffered broken ribs, a broken nose and bruises, the suit says. He continues to deal with psychological issues stemming from the beating, his attorney said Saturday.

“You can recover from a broken nose and broken ribs,” attorney Trent Walker said. “There’s obviously ongoing psychological injury and we’re certainly trying to make sure that he gets the help that he needs there, because as with many people that have been subjected to this sort of violence, it’s a traumatic incident.”

Mack was arrested by officers in the city of Pearl and transported to the Rankin County jail, according to the lawsuit. It alleges that McAlpin and another deputy, Ricky Davis, called and had Mack brought to the front area, where they questioned him about “possible information he had about drugs and gangs.”

Brett McAlpin in Brandon, Miss., on April 10.Rogelio V. Solis / AP file

When Mack exercised his right to remain silent, another deputy “hit Mack in the back of the head with a set of heavy steel jail keys,” the lawsuit says. McAlpin and Davis allegedly joined the deputy in beating Mack, according to the suit. NBC News was unable to reach Davis for comment and he has no attorney of record listed.

Mack was then dragged into a pod, the suit says, where six unnamed defendants “beat Mack for 45 minutes.”

The lawsuit says that Mack was throwing up blood after the assault and was seen by a nurse who “immediately called” for him to be sent to the hospital. Photos of the purported injuries were included in the lawsuit and appeared to show Mack with bruises on his face and back.

The Rankin County Sheriff’s Office and an attorney for McAlpin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McAlpin was among six former law enforcement officers found guilty of torturing and abusing two Black men, Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker, in January 2023.

McAlpin responded to a home in Braxton, Mississippi, after a white person called and complained that Jenkins and Parker were staying with a white woman at the home. McAlpin told former deputy Christian Lee Dedmon, who texted a group of white deputies who referred to themselves as “The Goon Squad.” The Justice Department said members “were known for using excessive force and not reporting it.”

The group handcuffed Jenkins and Parker, poured chocolate syrup, alcohol and milk on their faces, and then made them undress and shower together to hide the mess, according to The Associated Press. Jenkins and Parker were punched and kicked, forced to ingest liquids, assaulted with a sex toy, shocked with a stun gun 17 times, and called racial slurs. The men were told to stay out of Rankin County, the Justice Department said.

In a mock execution, one deputy removed a bullet from the chamber of his gun and forced the weapon into Jenkins’ mouth before pulling the trigger. No bullet was fired the first time, but the deputy pulled the trigger a second time, and it lacerated Jenkins’ tongue and broke his jaw.

Jenkins still has difficulty eating and speaking.

In April, McAlpin, Dedmon and former Rankin County deputies Jeffrey Middleton, Hunter Elward, and Daniel Opdyke, as well as former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield, were given sentences on state charges ranging from 15 to 45 years in prison. They were sentenced in March on federal charges, with prison terms ranging from 10 to 40 years. Both sentences will run concurrently.

In addition to serving time in prison, they were ordered to pay $6,431 within two years of release, and must permanently surrender their law enforcement certificates.

Walker said the case involving Mack is another example of the “pattern of violence within the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department that was carried out by particular officers.”

“We’ve seen multiple incidents, not just the incident in which Mr. McAlpin is currently incarcerated, but there’s a long history of violence by Mr. McAlpin,” he said.

Walker said he hopes the lawsuit can “secure a change with the leadership of Rankin County and the way that officers handle people who are from the vulnerable part of the community.”

Minyvonne Burke

Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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