by Hannah Sayle
Vince Higgins, Communications Director for the D.A.'s office, has confirmed the investigation is still underway and no determination has been made over whether criminal charges will be filed.
"The fatal shooting of Stephen Askew remains an open investigation and is under review by the D.A.'s Office," Higgins responded via email today.
Howard Manis, attorney for the Askew family, was especially surprised to receive the MPD's statement about the allegedly closed case, as his open records requests had been denied citing an ongoing investigation.
"I said, something's inconsistent here. Either you have an open investigation or you don't have an open investigation. It seems logical [that the case would not yet be closed] because we haven't even gotten the autopsy back yet," says Manis. "You don't close a homicide investigation without an autopsy."
The MPD's February 15th press release also stated that the officers, who had been suspended pending an investigation, had been approved to return to duty while an internal investigation would be carried out.
"It begs the question, who, if anybody, told the police that the District Attorney wasn't prosecuting?" says Manis. "And what in the world are they doing announcing that as support for putting these officers back on the force if there's an investigation of these officers still pending?"
On January 17th, Officers Aufdenkamp and Dyess found Askew asleep in his car, with his legally owned handgun next to him. When the officers approached the vehicle, they allege Askew pointed his gun at them, and the officers then shot and killed Askew with their duty weapons.
On January 30th, we reported that Aufdenkamp's personnel file revealed a history of aggression that led the MPD to submit him to the department's Early Intervention Program in 2012.
"If the Memphis Police Department has a policy that we can reinstate these guys before the District Attorney's office has cleared them and before they've cleared an internal investigation, then that's scary as a citizen, knowing that's the policy of our police department," Manis says.
The Memphis Police Department could not be reached for comment.