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2 Black men tortured by Mississippi officers call for toughest sentences

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2 Black men tortured by Mississippi officers call for toughest sentences


JACKSON, Miss. — Two Black men who were tortured by six Mississippi law enforcement officers last year called Monday for a federal judge to impose the strictest possible penalties at their sentencings this week.

The former law officers admitted in August to subjecting Michael Corey Jenkins and Eddie Terrell Parker to numerous acts of racially motivated, violent torture.

Prompted by a neighbor’s complaint in January 2023 that Jenkins and Parker were staying in a home with a white woman, the group of six burst in without a warrant and assaulted Jenkins and Parker with stun guns, a sex toy and other objects.

After a mock execution went awry when Jenkins was shot in the mouth, they devised a coverup that included planting drugs and a gun. The Rankin County Sheriff’s Department then supported the deputies’ false charges, which stood against Jenkins and Parker for months.

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U.S. District Judge Tom Lee will sentence two defendants each day, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after twice delaying the proceedings.

An attorney for Jenkins and Parker called Monday for the “stiffest of sentences.”

“Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker continue to suffer emotionally and physically since this horrific and bloody attack by Rankin County deputies,” Malik Shabazz said in a statement. “A message must be sent to police in Mississippi and all over America, that level of criminal conduct will be met with the harshest of consequences.”

Jenkins and Parker were scheduled to address reporters on Monday afternoon.

The officers charged include former Rankin deputies Bret McAlplin, Christian Dedmon, Hunter Elward, Jeffrey Middleton and Daniel Opdyke, and Joshua Hartfield, a former Richland police officer. They pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy against rights, obstructions of justice, deprivation of rights under color of law, discharge of a firearm under a crime of violence, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

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Most of their lawyers did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment Monday. Jason Kirschberg, representing Opdyke, said “Daniel has accepted responsibility for his actions, and his failures to act. … He has admitted he was wrong and feels deep remorse for the pain he caused the victims.”

The former lawman agreed to prosecutor-recommended sentences ranging from five to 30 years, although the judge isn’t bound by that agreement. Time served for separate convictions at the state level will run concurrently with the potentially longer federal sentences.

An investigation by The Associated Press published in March 2023 linked some of the deputies to at least four violent encounters with Black men since 2019 that left two dead and another with lasting injuries.

Shabazz said the false charges against the victims weren’t dropped until June. That’s when federal and state investigators began to close in on the deputies, and one of them began talking. They were fired shortly thereafter, and prosecutors announced the federal charges in August.

Prosecutors say some of the officers nicknamed themselves the “Goon Squad” because of their willingness to use excessive force and cover up attacks.

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Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey called the crimes by his deputies the worst case of police brutality he had ever seen. For months, Bailey said little about the episode. After the officers pleaded guilty in August, Bailey said the officers had gone rogue and promised to change the department.

Jenkins and Parker have called for his resignation, and they have filed a $400 million civil lawsuit against the department.



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Mississippi

Clemson coach Shawn Poppie adds Mississippi's Chris Ayers as associate head coach

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Clemson coach Shawn Poppie adds Mississippi's Chris Ayers as associate head coach


CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson coach Shawn Poppie is adding Mississippi women’s basketball coach Chris Ayers to his staff.

Poppie said Friday that Ayers, who spent the past six years with the Rebels, would be his associate head coach.

Ayers helped Mississippi to the past three NCAA Tournaments.

Ayers is the latest hire for Poppie, the former Chattanooga head coach who was named to replace Amanda Butler last month.

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Poppie had brought in three assistants from his former program in Jonathan Goldberg, Katelyn Grisillo, and Jayda Worthy. Goldberg will serve as director of player development and recruiting, while Worthy will be director of player personnel.

Poppie said Ayers brings recruiting experience and player development “at the highest level.”

“His resume speaks for itself,” Poppie said.

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Makylan Pounders working toward long-awaited first season at Mississippi State

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Makylan Pounders working toward long-awaited first season at Mississippi State


STARKVILLE — More than three years later, Makylan Pounders is back where it all started.

As a three-star offensive line recruit from Byhalia, in northwest Mississippi, Pounders had offers from five Southeastern Conference programs out of high school, including both institutions in his home state. His first unofficial visits as a high school junior were to Ole Miss, but in April 2020, Pounders committed to Mississippi State. And he was all set to become a Bulldog until he decommitted that December, shortly before that year’s early signing period.

Three days after decommitting from MSU, Pounders committed to the Rebels, and was ready to sign his national letter of intent to play for head coach Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss’ offensive coordinator at the time — Jeff Lebby. But Ole Miss never sent over the proper paperwork, and after Pounders called the coaches several times, he was told the Rebels were rescinding his scholarship offer.

Pounders quickly pivoted and ended up playing even closer to home, signing with Memphis the very next day. He redshirted his freshman year with the Tigers but soon worked his way into the starting lineup, making 10 starts as a redshirt sophomore last fall and helping Memphis rank seventh in the country in scoring offense. With two years of eligibility remaining, Pounders entered the transfer portal and immediately had several enticing offers waiting for him.

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Auburn and South Carolina each offered him the day Pounders put his name in the portal, as did Texas Tech and Pittsburgh. But Pounders knew MSU was the right fit for him, and he became the fourth transfer addition Lebby brought in after taking over as the Bulldogs’ head coach in late November.

“It’s honestly been surreal,” Pounders said. “Just being able to come back and play for these colors, it really was a personal feeling for me. When I hit the transfer portal, I knew where I was coming, just because (of the) family vibe. All the people around here as far as the support staff are still around, so I was able to feel at home real easily compared to other schools.”

Pounders is one of four offensive linemen MSU has added via the portal this offseason, along with Ethan Miner (North Texas), Marlon Martinez (LSU) and Jacoby Jackson (Texas Tech). All are expected to compete for starting roles considering the Bulldogs’ top six linemen from 2023 have either transferred or exhausted their eligibility.

New offensive line coach Cody Kennedy is working Pounders at left tackle and plans to have him start there when MSU opens the season against Eastern Kentucky on Aug. 31.

“We talk as a big o-line group, but those transfers are a little more tight-knit, just because we all came into a new situation,” Pounders said. “All of us coming from somewhat winning programs, we all can come together and lead by example and other people falling in line, and it seems like it’s working so far.”

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Pounders expressed excitement about the Bulldogs’ quarterback depth — Baylor transfer Blake Shapen is the presumptive starter, but rising sophomore Chris Parson appeared in two games last year and incoming freshman Michael Van Buren could also work his way into the mix.

But even after losing Kwatrivous Johnson, Percy Lewis, Cole Smith and others up front, MSU has plenty of depth on the line as well. Albert Reese, Leon Bell and Canon Boone all saw playing time in reserve roles last year, and players like Grant Jackson, who has mostly played on special teams over the last three years, could see the field more as well.

“(Pounders) has that Bulldog mentality for sure,” Jackson said. “You always like to see somebody like that come in and take charge. He’s going to help us out a lot at left tackle.”

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Thunder & Lightning: Can Mississippi State Continue Its Diamond Dominance of Ole Miss? – SuperTalk Mississippi

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Thunder & Lightning: Can Mississippi State Continue Its Diamond Dominance of Ole Miss? – SuperTalk Mississippi



For seven straight seasons, the balance of baseball power in the Magnolia State has belonged to Mississippi State. Now the Bulldogs head to Oxford looking to turn the screws on their bitter enemies once again, with Ole Miss nearing must win mode after a tough start to SEC play. Who will leave the field Sunday with the series in their pocket? Brian Hadad and Robbie Faulk preview the latest revival of the SEC’s most intense rivalry.

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