Multiple white police officers in Mississippi falsely accused two Black men of selling drugs and “dating white women” before handcuffing and brutally torturing them last month, including shooting one of them in the mouth in what should result in attempted murder charges, a group of lawyers said this week.
The police violence has left Michael C. Jenkins hospitalized and “fighting for his life” with injuries that forced doctors to remove his tongue, according to his attorneys.
Jenkins was with Eddie Terrell Parker in a private residence in the village of Braxton on Jan. 24 when the location was raided by six white officers without a warrant, Black Lawyers for Justice said in a press release emailed to NewsOne.
The officers allegedly accused Jenkins and Parker of “dating White women” and “selling drugs” — allegations attorneys have denied — before handcuffing them. After they were restrained, the officers allegedly “repeatedly” brutally beat and kicked the men while using a Taser on both and threatening to kill them. A witness even described the officers participating in something of a Taser contest with Jenkins and Parker being the targets, Jenkins’ mother said.
The brutality allegedly reached torturous levels when officers waterboarded Jenkins and Parker by employing the potentially deadly interrogation tactic that has been outlawed at the highest level of the military.
Jenkins’ mother said she was told by police that her son “displayed a gun,” which is why he was shot. But Mary Jenkins also said in a GoFundMe account she started that a witness said her son “didn’t have a gun. The witness told us that [Jenkins] was beat, tased and handcuffed while on his knees. The witness also stated that they went back and forth tasing [Jenkins and Parker] to see ‘who’s taser was the strongest.'”
Jenkins has been left in critical condition at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson.
“Michael has been clinging to his life and he is unable to talk, only write,” Black Lawyers for Justice said in the press release. “Michael has confirmed in writing that he was in fact handcuffed when shot by deputies. For several weeks since being shot, Michael has been in ICU at UMMC on life support. Michael suffered severe injuries to his mouth and head including having his tongue surgically removed, permanent damage to eyesight and hearing, and suffering severe debilitating cognitive injuries. Surely the psychological and physical trauma will last a lifetime.”
Black Lawyers for Justice announced they will hold a press conference on Wednesday to make several demands, including that the officers involved be arrested and criminally charged as well as all body camera footage be released and made public.
Attorney Malik Z. Shabazz told NewsOne that Parker is not hospitalized and is expected to be present at the press conference.
The alleged police brutality took place about one week after officers in Memphis, Tennessee, beat unarmed Black motorist Tyre Nichols so severely during a traffic stop that he died from his injuries three days later on Jan. 10. The fallout from that instance has been swift with the officers being fired and charged with murder amid a widening investigation that includes the highest levels of local government and public safety.
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