Attorneys representing the family of slain Memphis resident Steven Askew have filed a $3 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city and several Memphis Police officers.
On January 17th of last year, 24-year-old Steven Askew was shot and killed by two Memphis police officers as he sat in his Ford Crown Victoria. Minutes before the shooting, Askew was asleep in his car awaiting the arrival of his girlfriend at the Windsor Place Apartments complex. Multiple residents have stated that Askew waited in his car for his girlfriend on a regular basis.
The police officers involved in the shooting, Ned Aufdenkamp and Matthew Dyess, noticed Askew sleep in his car and upon suspicion, approached the vehicle. The officers stated that as they got to the window of the car, they noticed a handgun in between Askew’s legs.
The officers tapped on the window while shining flashlights into the car, awaking Askew. The officers stated they gave Askew verbal commands to raise his hands. Instead of complying with the officers’ request, they allege Askew threw some “gang signs" before arming himself with the handgun and pointing it at them. The officers reacted by discharging their weapons. In the end, 22 shots had been fired, nine of which hit Askew in the back, arms, and back of the neck.
The incident led some to question whether or not the shooting was justified. It was later revealed that one of the officers involved, Aufdenkamp, had a past history of performance issues. It was also disclosed that Askew had a permit for the handgun in his car; ballistics tests determined that Askew’s firearm wasn’t discharged during the incident.
Under the representation of attorneys Jeffrey Rosenblum and Howard Manis, Askew’s family is suing the city along with both officers involved and Memphis Police director Toney Armstrong for $3 million in damages for the killing. View the Askew family's complaint here
A week before Askew’s shooting, 67-year-old Donald Moore was fatally shot by an Memphis Police officer at his Cordova home on January 11th. The officer involved, Phillip Penny, said he shot Moore after he pointed a gun at him and several Memphis Animal Services employees who were there to serve an animal cruelty warrant.
Moore's family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, Penny (who also has a troubled past with the department), TACT unit commander Major Charles Morris, and Armstrong. The case is also being represented by Manis and Rosenblum. Similar to the Askew family, they’re seeking $3 million in damages. View the Moore family's complaint here
None of the officers involved in the two shootings were prosecuted and remain employed with the department. Both of the fatal shootings took place a month after Memphis Police officer Martoiya Lang was killed while serving a search warrant on December 14th, 2012.