‘Goon Squad’ Suit Alleges Officer Tortured Black Man With Dog

A Black man in Mississippi filed a federal lawsuit this week alleging a former officer in the high-profile and highly scrutinized Mississippi “Goon Squad” in Rankin County and several other law enforcement officers set a police dog on him while he was handcuffed on the ground in 2021, resulting in several injuries.

Bobbie Adams, 41, alleged in the suit that Tony Shack, a Rankin County sheriff’s officer, unleashed his dog VooDoo on Adams after a police chase. The suit says that Christian Dedmon, an investigator with the department, falsified a report about the incident.

The Rankin County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on the lawsuit.

Dedmon is one of six Goon Squad officers sentenced last month by a federal judge for torturing two other Black men, Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker. Dedmon received a 40-year prison sentence.

On May 1, 2021, Adams attempted to flee deputies on foot after being caught selling methamphetamine to an informant, but he surrendered after seeing six officers on the scene in a wooded area. Officers pointed a gun at Adams while handcuffing him in a “subdued position” on the ground, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that while Adams was handcuffed with several officers surrounding him, Shack ordered VooDoo to attack and bite him.

“As Defendant Shack held VooDoo’s leash, the dog began to attack the handcuffed and compliant Plaintiff, biting and chewing upon the Plaintiff’s legs and feet repeatedly,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges that it took eight minutes from when Adams was handcuffed for deputies to radio in that he needed medical attention and 13 minutes for dispatchers to say that a police dog had been released.

Dedmon’s subsequent police report said that Adams kicked at the dog and that caused him to bite him several times, including on his foot, which the lawsuit said is false. Another deputy reportedly told medical personnel that Adams hurt his foot running from the officers.

The suit does not name the other officers, besides Shack and Dedmon, who were at the scene.

Adams and his attorney requested all information from the investigative file of the incident, but the sheriff’s office denied the request, the suit claims.

No body camera footage has been released of the incident. Adams’ attorney declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Trent Walker, an attorney who represented Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker, told HuffPost the lawsuit will be the first of many against Rankin County deputies and that he believes Sheriff Bryan Bailey is to blame.

“The allegations in this lawsuit just go to further prove the longstanding customs, patterns and practices of the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, particularly under the tenure of Sheriff Bryan Bailey,” Walker told HuffPost.

“These allegations show that violence has been endemic to the culture of the department for decades. It is long past time that these all-too-frequent incidents cease to be treated with a ‘wink and a nod’ by those in power in Rankin County.”

Several of the white officers who belonged to the self-proclaimed Goon Squad were connected with recent incidents of abuse and using excessive force against residents of Rankin County.

Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey speaks at an employer engagement forum on Nov. 4, 2021, in Jackson, Mississippi. The sheriff is facing calls to resign after five of his former deputies were recently sentenced for their actions as part of an abusive “goon squad.”

Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

In 2022, Dedmon also beat and shocked a man and then fired a gun toward his head in order to coerce him into a confession. Other officers, Hunter Elward and Daniel Opdyke, failed to intervene in the incident, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Attorneys and residents claim Sheriff Bailey is responsible for the corrupt squad of officers existing under his command. Bailey has publicly denied having any knowledge of the behavior of the officers who were sentenced.

Rankin County residents have protested, demanding that Bailey immediately resign or be removed from office.

Bailey was reelected as sheriff last year in an unopposed election.

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