Ex-officer in Mississippi gets 1 year in prison for forcing man to lick urine off jail floor

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A former Mississippi police officer was sentenced Wednesday to a year in federal prison for forcing a man he had arrested to lick urine off the floor of a jail cell.

Michael Christian Green received the maximum prison time on the misdemeanor charge of acting under the color of law to deprive a person of their civil rights. Green, 26, pleaded guilty March 14 and is scheduled to go to prison July 26.

Green lost his job as a Pearl Police Department patrol officer in late December, four days after security cameras showed the violent encounter in Pearl, a suburb of the capital city of Jackson.

Although court documents did not mention race, Green is white and a Pearl city spokesperson said the man he arrested is Latino. A charging document said Green arrested the man Dec. 23 after a disturbance at a store.

Police department security footage showed that once the man was in a holding cell, he knocked on the door and tried to tell Green that he needed to urinate, according to the court document. After waiting for some time, the man went to the back of the cell and urinated in a corner, the document said.

The man who was arrested is identified in the court document only by his initials, B.E. The security camera footage showed Green threatening to beat B.E. with a phone.

Green took the man back into the cell and told him to get on the ground and “suck it up,” then used his phone to take videos of B.E. while the man got on the ground and licked his own urine, the document said. After the man gagged multiple times, Green told him, “don’t spit it out,” according to the document.

The city of Pearl said in a statement that officials learned about the “disturbing event” during Christmas weekend and opened an investigation, using an independent attorney. Mayor Jake Windham said Green resigned Dec. 27.

Windham said Green had worked for the Pearl Police Department for about six months after having worked at other law enforcement agencies in the Jackson area.

It’s rare for law enforcement officers in Mississippi to be charged with brutality, although authorities typically investigate several cases each year of shootings by police.

Pearl is in Rankin County, where six white former law enforcement officers — including some who called themselves the “Goon Squad” — were sentenced on federal and state charges this year after pleading guilty in a January 2023 racist assault on two Black men.