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New ‘Goon Squad’ lawsuit...

New ‘Goon Squad’ lawsuit alleges K-9 attack on cuffed suspect

By: Jeremy Pittari - May 10, 2024

  • Members of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department are alleged to have set a K-9 on a man while handcuffed on the ground.

A new lawsuit filed against named and unnamed members of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department alleges more civil rights violations took place as part of the actions of the department’s ‘Goon Squad.’

The action, filed by Christopher Bobbie Adams, alleges that Rankin County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Christian Dedmon, Sheriff’s Department K-9 handler Tony Shack, and at least four other unnamed officers were involved in an incident that resulted in injuries to Adams. Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey is also named as a defendant in the suit.

Adams alleges a K-9 named ‘VooDoo’ was prompted by Shack to attack Adams after he had been apprehended, handcuffed and seated on the ground.

Adams’ civil complaint details his version of events at the time of the arrest. The alleged events occurred on May 1, 2021, when Adams was arrested for the sale of methamphetamine to a confidential informant. According to Adams, after completing the transaction with the confidential informant, law enforcement officers attempted to arrest him, but he fled on foot. Adams says he later decided to hide in a ditch along the same path he originally used and reportedly waited for the officers to return so he could give himself up.

After the last officer passed by the hiding spot, Adams complaint says he called out to the officer and allowed himself to be handcuffed. Adams claims he was then cuffed and placed in a sitting position on the ground. It was after Adams was cuffed and seated that Sparks allegedly set the K-9 on Adams, allowing the dog to bite the victim several times on the left foot and leg, the lawsuit alleges.  

Eight minutes after being placed into custody, dispatch received a call that Adams was in need of medical attention. Adams suffered puncture wounds along with crushed and dislocated bones in his left foot during the K-9 attack, according to the civil complaint.

Adams claims the injuries he sustained during the dog attack including “his left foot extending to his upper thigh was torn, crushed and ripped by VooDoo during the attack, requiring extensive surgery.” A puncture wound to his mid-calf area was also noted. 

Law enforcement officers on scene then devised a false account of how Adams came to be attacked by VooDoo, according to Adams. Dedmon, who recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced in two separate civil rights violation cases that drew national attention, reported that Adams had been injured by the dog while fleeing and that the injuries suffered were a result of Adams trying to kick the dog to evade capture. Adams alleges that officers used the story to explain the excessive number of puncture wounds he suffered.

Dedmon’s report did not include the names of other officers who were on the scene during Adams’ arrest.

The lawsuit specifically refers to Dedmon as being “affiliated with Rankin County ‘Goon Squad.'”

The Rankin County ‘Goon Squad’ gained notoriety when five members of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and one Richland Police officer pleaded guilty to the warrantless raid of a home occupied by two Black men back in January of 2023. During that raid, the officers, Dedmon, Bret McAlpin, Jeffrey Middleton, Hunter Elward, Daniel Opdyke and Joshua Hartfield, beat and tortured Eddie Parker and Michael Jenkins. During the incident, Jenkins was shot through the jaw and neck by Elward, who had placed the gun in the victim’s mouth. All six officers pleaded guilty to numerous civil rights violations and were sentenced to decades in prison on federal and state charges

Dedmon, who during the attack threatened to sodomize at least one of the men with a sex toy found in the home, discharged his firearm, and played an active role in devising a cover up that included him planting drugs, received the stiffest sentences among the officers for his role — 25 years for his state conviction and 40 years for his federal conviction. The two sentences will run concurrently.

With respect to Sheriff Bryan Bailey, Adams’ complaint alleges, “Under Defendant Sheriff Bryan Bailey, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department maintained a group of law enforcement officers called ‘the Goon Squad.’ The Goon Squad was specifically tasked with using illegal methods to abuse and intimidate people the Sheriff and others employed by Defendant Rankin County viewed as undesirable or otherwise unworthy of protection.” The claim also says those viewed as “undesirable” were frequently Black.

During the lead up to sentencing of ‘Goon Squad’ case this year, reports surfaced of additional abuses allegedly committed by officers associated with the case. During sentencing hearings for the January 2023 incident, the victims and defendants repeatedly alluded to a culture within the department that condoned misconduct. Authorities, and ultimately juries, will be called upon to discern if the events alleged in this, and possible future, suits actually occurred.

Read the full filing below.

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: