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Former law enforcement officers in...

Former law enforcement officers in “Goon Squad” case receive state sentences

By: Jeremy Pittari - April 10, 2024

This combination of photos shows, from top left, former Rankin County sheriff’s deputies Hunter Elward, Christian Dedmon, Brett McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, Daniel Opdyke and former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield appearing at the Rankin County Circuit Court in Brandon, Miss., Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. The six white former Mississippi law officers pleaded guilty to state charges on Monday for torturing two Black men in a racist assault that ended with a deputy shooting one victim in the mouth. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

  • All sentences will be served concurrently with previously issued federal sentences.

The six former law enforcement officers who entered guilty pleas in relation to the assault and torture of two black men have received their state sentences from the Rankin County Circuit Court.

Their sentences, issued by Judge Steve Ratcliff, will be served concurrently with the federal sentences they received last month. 

During federal sentencing, evidence presented before the court demonstrated varying levels of participation of the abuse by the six men. As previously reported, only three of the six men were part of the group known as the “Goon Squad,” which included Middleton, Elward, and Opdyke. 

The following state sentences were handed down on Wednesday:

  • Bret McAlpin was given a 20 year sentence, running concurrently with his federal sentence of 27.25 years. 
  • Jeffrey Middleton was sentenced to 20 years, running concurrently with his federal sentence of 17.5 years. 
  • Christian Dedmon was sentenced to 25 years, running concurrently with his federal sentence of 40 years.
  • Hunter Elward was sentenced to 45 years, running concurrently with his federal sentence of 20 years. 
  • Daniel Opdyke was given 20 years, running concurrently with his federal sentence of 17.5 years. 
  • Joshua Hartfield was sentenced to 15 years, running concurrently with his federal sentence of 10 years.

In January 2023, five members of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and one member of the Richland Police Department conducted a warrantless raid on a home in Braxton. During the course of the raid, the officers tortured and brutalized two black men, Eddie Parker and Michael Corey Jenkins.

Each of the six former officers pleaded guilty to both federal and state charges last fall in connection with the incident.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in a statement that the state sentencings mark the culmination of fifteen months of model cooperation between her Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

“Together we worked to ensure justice for these victims in a horrific case of abuse,” Lynn said, as shared on social media.

About the Author(s)
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Jeremy Pittari

Jeremy Pittari is a lifelong resident of the Gulf Coast. Born and raised in Slidell, La., he moved to South Mississippi in the early 90s. Jeremy earned an associate in arts from Pearl River Community College and went on to attend the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned a bachelor's of arts in journalism. A week after Hurricane Katrina, he started an internship as a reporter with the community newspaper in Pearl River County. After graduation, he accepted a full-time position at that news outlet where he covered the recovery process post Katrina in Pearl River and Hancock Counties. For nearly 17 years he wrote about local government, education, law enforcement, crime, business and a variety of other topics. Email Jeremy: