Wrongful death suits filed against city in MPD killings - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Wrongful death lawsuits filed against city in officer-involved killings

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Lawsuits filed against the city of Memphis allege police officers are getting away with murder.

The families of two Memphians killed by police officers in 2013 have filed wrongful death lawsuits. They held a news conference Thursday about their quest for the truth in what happened to their loved ones.

In both the case of Donald Moore and Steven Askew, the families say the men were minding their own business, when Memphis Police Department officers opened fire. They said the internal investigation, which resulted in no charges, was not enough.

DOWNLOAD: Read lawsuit filed by Steve Askew's family
DOWNLOAD: Read lawsuit filed by Donald Moore's family


The families of Mr. Moore and Mr. Askew were strangers until last year, and will now forever be linked. Mr. Askew was killed by two police officers Jan. 17, 2013.

"He cannot speak today because he is no longer with us," said Sterling Askew, father. "I love my son. He was a loving son, church-going. He was a faithful, loving member."

Mr. Moore was also shot to death by officers, just six days earlier.

"He was a father, grandfather, just terrible," said Ronald Moore, son. "It never should have happened like that."

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The families have filed a lawsuit against the city of Memphis, Police Director Toney Armstrong, and the officers involved in the shootings, who were found to be justified in their actions.

Mr. Moore was shot after animal control went to his house on an animal hoarding call. The MPD TACT Unit was called in as backup.    

"It's undisputed that Mr. Moore retreated to his bedroom and called 9-1-1, and you can hear the tape where he is urging them to leave," said Jeffrey Rosenblum, attorney. "He's urging the police to come and protect. But they kicked the door in and they shoot him."

Rosenblum said the officers were cleared of criminal wrongdoing because of their claim Mr. Moore pointed a gun at them. But Rosenblum says the gun was still in the holster.

MORE: Officer named in fatal animal hoarder case
MORE: Hoarder killed protecting animals, points gun at police


"You'll hear the officers say it's out policy and procedure to disturb the crime scene, and put the gun back in the holster," the attorney said.

Mr. Askew was killed by MPD officers after he was found sleeping in his car. They say he pointed a gun at them. Rosenblum said he was shot because his legally registered weapon was by his side.

"They fire 22 times striking him at least seven times in either the back or the back of the neck, killing this innocent young man," Rosenblum said.

The city of Memphis did not return a request for comment, but an investigation by the MPD resulted in no charges from the Shelby County District Attorney's office.

These families say that is not goo enough.

"If you don't know, the worst thing you will ever go through in your life is to bury your child," Sterling Askew said.

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