Two men, one of whom had been shot by a Mississippi law enforcement officer in the mouth, announced Tuesday that they would file a federal lawsuit alleging excessive force against Blacks.
Attorneys for Michael Corey Jenkins, Eddie Terrell Parker and the other parties involved in the lawsuit announced the lawsuit with a press release. They also identified publicly for the first time a deputy they claim put a firearm inside Michael Corey Jenkins’ mouth before firing. Parker confirmed the identity of the deputy in a Tuesday follow-up interview to The Associated Press.
The upcoming lawsuit is part of a Justice Department civil rights probe into the January encounter between Jenkins and Parker, as well as Rankin County Department Sheriff deputies.
In a press release, Malik Shabazz stated that he will file 22 claims of civil rights violations before Monday in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi. The men are seeking $400 million in punitive and compensatory damages.
In the press release, attorney Shabazz stated that “if there was ever a case in which punitive damages were needed against police officers, then this is it.” This horrific, violent, and disgusting ordeal reveals that Rankin County officers and the Department have a pattern of using excessive force against African American citizens and committing hate crimes.
Emails and phone calls to the sheriff’s office and the attorney who represents the deputies Tuesday were not answered by a spokesperson or an attorney.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation confirmed that a deputy had shot Jenkins. However, the agency did not identify the deputy nor release any details about the incident. Jenkins spent weeks in the hospital, and according to his medical records he had a lacerated lip and a fractured jaw. Deputies did not say if a weapon had been found.
Jenkins said that he did not know the name or identity of the deputy who had shot him. Parker, Shabazz, and attorney Trent Walker all claim that it was Deputy Hunter Elward. This is based in part on a court document where Elward testified Jenkins pointed a firearm at him. Parker also said that he recognized Elward based on online photos.
Jenkins and Parker claim that on the night Jan. 24, six deputies from Rankin County, all white, entered the house where Parker lived and began to handcuff them and beat the residents. The deputies, they said, shocked them with stun weapons repeatedly over a period of 90 minutes. At one point, the deputies forced them to lay on their backs while pouring milk over their face.
Deputies also allegedly tried to assault the men with a sexy toy that they had found during a search of the house. Jenkins claimed that the deputy placed a gun into his mouth, and then fired.
The raid was initiated by deputies after a drug-related report at the house. Jenkins was charged for possessing 2 to 10 grams of methamphetamine, and with aggravated assault against a police officer. Parker was charged with possession of paraphernalia, and disorderly conduct. Deputies did not say if they had a search warrant. In the lawsuit, it will be alleged that deputies entered illegally.
The incident was not captured on a body camera. The AP obtained automated Taser records that show Tasers had been turned on, off or used dozens times in the 65 minutes before Jenkins was killed.
A AP report from March found that several Rankin County Sheriff’s Department officers were involved in violent confrontations with Black men since 2019, including the two that resulted in deaths. Jenkins is not the only man who claims that deputies shoved firearms into his mouth.
The Justice Department has launched an investigation into the incident following the allegations made against the deputies. At a Mississippi community meeting on June 1, Assistant attorney general Kristen Clarke of U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division stated that the investigation was still underway.