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Miss. Man Urinates in Holding Cell, Ex-Police Officer Orders Him to ‘Lick It Up’

Michael Christian Green, 26, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of acting under color of law to deprive a person of his civil rights

<p>AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis</p> Michael Christian Green

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Michael Christian Green

A Mississippi police officer has admitted to forcing a man in custody to "lick" up the man's own pee.

Officer Michael Christian Green, 26, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of acting under color of law to deprive a person of his civil rights, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Mississippi confirmed in a press release.

<p>City of Pearl, Miss., via The Associated Press</p> Michael Christian Green in a headshot for his identification badge when he joined the Pearl Police Department in June 2023

City of Pearl, Miss., via The Associated Press

Michael Christian Green in a headshot for his identification badge when he joined the Pearl Police Department in June 2023

The Dec. 23 incident, recorded on security footage of the booking area and the holding cell at the Pearl Police Department, led to a federal investigation by the F.B.I.

The city of Pearl provided the footage to the federal agents, per a press release from the city.

“To treat somebody like that is just despicable,” Pearl Mayor Jake Windham said at a press conference on Thursday.

According to federal court documents obtained by PEOPLE filed March 4 and unsealed Wednesday, earlier that December day, Green had responded to a report of a family disturbance at a local Sam’s Club.

There, the officer arrested the man – identified in the criminal information only as B.E. – and transferred him to the police department for booking.

Upon arrival, Green placed the man in a holding cell, where the man ultimately relieved himself in a corner when officers ignored his request to use the bathroom.

After moving the man into booking, Green learned of the urine in the holding cell and ordered him to: “go suck it up right now,” per the allegations outlined in court documents by U.S. Attorney Todd W. Geen.

“Let me tell you somethin’,” the officer told the man after discovering the puddle on the floor per federal court documents. “You see this phone? I will beat your f- - - - - - a- - with it. You’re fixin’ to go in there and you’re gonna lick that piss up. Do you understand me?"

As the man knelt on the ground to comply with the officer’s orders, Green took his cell phone from his duty vest and filmed the man.

“Don’t spit it out,” the officer said when the man gagged, court documents said.

Later, after returning to the booking area, the man “repeatedly vomited” into a trashcan.

<p>City of Pearl Government</p> Pearl Mayor Jake Windham at a March 14, 2024 press conference

City of Pearl Government

Pearl Mayor Jake Windham at a March 14, 2024 press conference

“Green did not have a government interest or law enforcement purpose in ordering B.E. to lick his urine,” the U.S. attorney wrote in the criminal information, in which he argued that Green had “willfully deprived” the man of his Constitutional right “not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right of a pre-trial detainee to be free from conditions of confinement that amount to punishment.”

Green – who had formerly been employed by the Jackson Police Department and law enforcement in Flowood, Miss. – had joined the Pearl Police Department in June 2023 with a clean record, the mayor said at Thursday’s press conference.

“There were some personnel issues,” Windham said of the officer’s six months on the job. “But nothing like this.”

Therese Apel, a city spokeswoman, tells PEOPLE that Green – who resigned on Dec. 27, following a prompt internal investigation – is slated for sentencing on June 12, 2024.

Green’s lawyer, Bradley Alan Oberhousen, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Attorney Candace Gregory, a former federal prosecutor who is now the director of Mississippi’s Public Integrity Division, launched an independent investigation and is reviewing the police department’s policies and procedures and providing additional training, per the city’s press release.

“Look, I can't make rhyme or reason of it,” the mayor said of the incident at the press conference. “I don't understand how you treat someone like that. The proper thing to do was to take the gentleman to the restroom, not do anything of this magnitude and violate his civil rights.”

Referencing the highly publicized case of nearby Rankin County’s “Goon Squad,” a set of violent White sheriff deputies who pleaded guilty in a case of terrorizing two Black men at the direction of the sheriff’s chief investigator, and who are slated for sentencing next week, the mayor said there is “a stark contrast” between the incidents.

“It does paint us in a negative light, I'm not running from that,” the mayor added of the December 2023 incident. “I just think there's a clear difference in how we're handling it, than how it has been handled nationally or at a local level. We have no tolerance for things of this nature. And then yeah, it'll take the citizens time to regain some trust.”

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