Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz Speaks On ‘Goon Squad’ Police Torture Case

Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz Speaks On ‘Goon Squad’ Police Torture Case


Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz, center, in the Queens borough of New York on Dec. 2, 2006. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree)

The “Goon Squad” police torture case has sent shockwaves through the country. Six officers in Mississippi subjected two Black men to unspeakable torture. One of the attorneys fighting for the two victims is Malik Zulu Shabazz, a prominent lawyer known for his advocacy against injustice.

Shabazz previously served as the chairman of the New Black Panther Party. Shabazz announced on an Oct. 14, 2013, online radio broadcast that he was stepping down from his leadership position in the New Black Panther Party. He co-founded the Black Lawyers for Justice, an organization dedicated to advocating for justice within the legal system for marginalized communities.

The “Goon Squad” case revolves around six officers, five from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and one from the Richland Police Department. They have all pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from the torture of two Black men, Michael Jenkins, 32, and Eddie Terrell Parker, 35.

The incident took place during an early-morning raid on Jan. 24, in Braxton, Mississippi. The officers, who did not have a warrant, forcibly entered Parker’s home and subjected both men to a series of horrendous acts. The victims were beaten, tased, and threatened with rape. The officers even used a sex toy on them before shooting one of the men in the mouth.

“From early January, we have advocated strongly and vigorously in every way…in order to bring the truths that are coming to light today that these defendants,…called the rank-in-county ‘goon squad’…they have been getting away with this for so long that they felt emboldened to act in such a radical and callous way,” Shabazz told Democracy Now.

He added of the guilty pleas, “This is the first time that a white Mississippi police officer has ever been held criminally responsible for harming a Black person…this is a history-making moment.”

On Aug. 17, five deputies pleaded guilty to federal charges: Brett Morris McAlpin, 52, who served as chief investigator; Jeffrey Arwood Middleton, 45, who worked as a lieutenant; Christian Lee Dedmon, 28, who worked as a narcotics investigator; and Hunter Thomas Elward, 31, and Daniel Ready Opdyke, 27, who worked as patrol deputies. Joshua Allen Hartfield, 31, who worked as a narcotics investigator with the Richland Police Department, also pleaded guilty.

According to the criminal information filed Thursday, the white deputies handcuffed Jenkins and Parker before beating them and calling them “n—–,” “monkey” and “boy,” telling them to stay out of Rankin County and “go back to Jackson or to ‘their side’ of the Pearl River.” While deputies taunted the two men, Dedmon “repeatedly drive-stunned Jenkins with his taser,” according to the information.

When deputies discovered a sex toy in the home, Opdyke forced it into the mouth of Parker and attempted to force it into the mouth of Jenkins, Mississippi Today reported. Dedmon then threatened to anally rape the two men.

The two men also had alcohol and chocolate syrup poured on their faces and into their mouths. Dedmon poured cooking grease on Parker’s head, and Elward threw eggs at the men.

Then, the police ordered the two men “to strip naked and shower off to wash away evidence of abuse,” according to the court record. The men were also beaten with a wooden spoon, a metal sword, and smacked with pieces of wood. Hartfield and Elward also tased Jenkins and Parker repeatedly. Before all was said and done, one officer shot put a gun inside Jenkins’ mouth and shot him. The bullet lacerated Jenkins’ tongue, shattered his jaw and shredded his neck, nearly killing him and causing permanent injuries, according to Jenkins’ lawyers.

Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz, center, leader of the New Black Panther Party, speaks to anti-police brutality supporters during a rally in the Queens borough of New York on Dec. 2, 2006. (AP Photo/Adam Rountree)