One of the officers involved in the recent fatal shooting of Steven Askew has a troubled past filled with performance and anger issues, including placement into an Early Intervention Program, according to Memphis police documents.
Two officers, Ned Aufdenkamp and Matthew Dyess, are accused of killing Mr. Askew, while he was sitting in his car on Jan. 17 in a southeast apartment complex. Police say the officers responded to a loud music disturbance call at an apartment complex and spotted a man slumped over in a car in a parking space. As the officers proceeded to check on Askew, police say the man pointed a weapon at the officers.
Director Toney Armstrong says his officers gave several verbal commands to Askew and he acknowledged the officers presence. Mr. Askew's defense attorney says he was shot multiple times, while waiting to visit his girlfriend. Mr. Askew had a permit to carry his gun.
Memphis police personnel records show Aufdenkamp was first hired in 2007 but was forced to leave the training program, since he didn't pass one of the qualifying tests.
However, Aufdenkamp reapplied and in 2009 joined the department. Since then, documents show Aufdenkamp received four workstation complaints and seven reports of resisting arrest. Among other things, his supervisors were bothered by the "frequency and proximity of the resisting arrests, the use of chemical spray, and the resulting injuries to either Aufdenkamp or the suspect," according to personnel records.
A lieutenant notes in Aufdenkamp's personnel file, "While complaints can be expected to come with police work, there are numerous officers who maintain high stats, but do not generate the kinds of complaints which Aufdenkamp has generated."
In 2010, a suspect filed a lawsuit against Officer Audenkamp and his partner due to an injury which happened on a domestic disturbance call.
Within a seven month period in 2011, Aufdenkamp is accused of roughing up a violator, "bottoming-out" his patrol car without reporting it, and a domestic situation with his wife.
A workstation complaint was filed after Aufdenkamp broke a violators "windshield with a flashlight, roughed him up and searched him for no reason and cursed him." Aufdenkamp is accused of going on the loud speaker and saying, "speed up or I'm going to take your black ass to jail," documents say.
Records show he failed to report "bottoming out" his patrol car, "breaking the radiator and disabling the car," and reporting the incident to a supervisor. Aufdenkamp didn't tell his supervisor he had his cruiser towed nor did he have the accident investigated.
During another incident, Aufdenkamp was involved in a domestic situation with his wife while on duty. Aufdenkamp left roll call to head home after his wife discovered he was being sued for child support for a child out-of-wedlock. The lieutenant who arrived on the scene was disciplined for failing to report the incident, police say.
In January 2012, Aufdenkamp was assigned a one day suspension and anger management after a heated argument and shoving incident happened with a fellow officer. Another officer stepped in to prevent the argument from escalating.
Weeks later, Internal Affairs Bureau received a telephone complaint about Aufdenkamp being "rude and disrespectful during a traffic stop and approached with his gun out." While Aufdenkamp denied any wrongdoing, he was referred to the Early Intervention Program and then shortly after placed on desk duty, records show.
A summary written by a Memphis Police Lieutenant says, Aufdenkamp was not alone in the encounters and complainants typically complain against him, not the other officers on the scene.
Several of the complainants say "they felt that Aufdenkamp would intentionally ratchet up the level of pressure on the scene when it wasn't necessary, they described that they felt harassed and abused. One motorist recounted that Aufdenkamp made him nervous, so the motorist captured the stop on his camera phone. He says that Aufdenkamp became visibly angry and agitated and as Aufdenkamp left, he gunned his engine causing the police car wheels to squeal," records say.
Dyess does not have any significant incidents in his personnel file.
Officer Aufdenkamp and Dyess have been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.