MSTODAYnews49 karma2023-12-07 15:10:33 UTC
Do you mean doing investigative work? I would throw out a little bit of caution there. One thing to consider is the sensitivity and danger of this case for so many of the people involved. Our investigation was backed by a whole team of editors, lawyers and investigative reporters and the New York Times and Mississippi Today with decades of experience in pursing investigations following ethical and legal guidelines.
But there are aspects of this that anyone can pursue. Any citizen can file public records requests with these departments that abide by Mississippi's public records laws. You can attend county board of supervisor meetings and local protests and press conferences where leaders and activists are discussing this issue to learn more. And you can try to talk with public officials about their conduct and what they're doing to prevent these kinds of abuses.
It's so important for everyone to be engaged, informed, curious and invested in these issues.
I hope that answers your question,
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MSTODAYnews28 karma2023-12-07 16:19:48 UTC
This is a great question. Based on the incidents we reviewed, the majority of these alleged torture cases occurred in low-income neighborhoods in Rankin County. Many of these local residents described near-nightly raids in their communities. Certain neighborhoods, such as the Robinhood community in Brandon, Miss., were especially popular areas for the deputies. So yes, location was a factor, but it's more complicated than that...
Nearly all of the people targeted by the deputies were suspected drug users or small-time dealers. Combine their income with their drug use, and you have a group of people who are unlikely to be believed by authority figures. And that's exactly what we saw: even in cases where people lodged complaints, filed lawsuits, and fought their criminal charges, even when they showed up to court visibly injured, there doesn't appear to have been any serious investigation conducted by anyone with the authority to do so. I hope that answers your question!
MSTODAYnews22 karma2023-12-07 15:02:40 UTC
Great question! That's definitely been on our minds as well. It's hard for us to say at this point whether there are other 'Goon Squads' across the state. We've heard about similar allegations of abuse in other departments. We haven't looked into whether any of these are related yet.
It was clear from the start with the Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker case that the "Goon Squad" wasn't limited to the Rankin County Sheriff's Department. One of the men was a Richland PD officer. But we don't know the full extent of this overlap between departments or even how involved this one officer was in other incidents.
To find out more we're going to use the same old shoe leather reporting methods. Talk to people who say they've experienced this type of conduct, file records requests with the departments and pursue these questions doggedly until we find answers.
Thanks for your question!
MSTODAYnews19 karma2023-12-07 16:21:17 UTC
MSTODAYnews18 karma2023-12-07 15:33:16 UTC
Our job as reporters is to try to get the truth out there. What happens after that is best left up to the public.
I can say that the sentencing guidelines for the crimes the six officers indicted this summer are currently facing are steep. They could be serving decades in prison. And that's just for those two incidents.
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