Ex-Sheriff’s Deputies from Mississippi Face Years Behind Bars for Torturing Black Men

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Two former Rankin County, Mississippi, sheriff’s deputies, Hunter Elward and Jeffrey Middleton, were sentenced in federal court on Tuesday after pleading guilty, alongside five other former law enforcement officers, to a total of 16 charges related to the January 2023 torture of two Black men.

Sentencing Details

Elward, who pleaded guilty to the most serious charge of discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, was sentenced to 241 months, approximately 20 years. Middleton received a sentence of 17.5 years or 210 months in prison for his involvement in the incident.

Michael Jenkins, one of the victims who was shot in the mouth during the incident, expressed mixed emotions, stating he was glad Elward apologized but remained unsure about forgiveness. Eddie Parker, the second victim, forgave Elward but emphasized the need for accountability.

Background and Additional Charges

The incident involved the torture and physical abuse of Jenkins and Parker, including beatings, sexual assault, and Taser shocks, for over 90 minutes. The officers also falsified evidence to cover up their misconduct.

Attorney General Merrick Garland commented on the case, emphasizing the importance of holding officers accountable for violating constitutional rights and betraying public trust.

Calls for Maximum Sentences

The victims’ attorney, Malik Shabazz, called for the maximum sentence for each former officer, highlighting the significance of accountability for police brutality.

Three of the officers, including Elward, also pleaded guilty to additional felony offences related to a separate incident in December 2022. Investigations into the incidents have involved both federal and state authorities.


The sentencing of former sheriff’s deputies Elward and Middleton marks a significant development in a case that has drawn attention to police brutality and accountability in law enforcement.

As legal proceedings continue, the outcomes will be closely watched for their implications on addressing systemic issues of abuse and misconduct within the criminal justice system.

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons


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Karishhma Mago is an entrepreneur, cryptocurrency expert, and personal branding consultant. She’s the founder & CEO of Facilius Inc. and Digital Nod, the premier digital PR agencies servicing global brands and influential public figures. With a penchant for entrepreneurship, brand building, social media, and cryptocurrency, she brings a wealth of expertise to her contributions to several esteemed publications. If not behind her laptop screen, you will find her reading her favorite books, traveling, or playing with her daughter.
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