by Hannah Sayle
One of the Memphis Police Department officers involved in the shooting death of 24-year-old Steven Askew has a less-than-stellar personnel file.
According to his personnel file, Officer Ned Aufdenkamp was already on the Memphis Police Department's radar for past performance problems and was submitted for the department's Early Intervention Program in 2012.
On Thursday, January 17th, Officer Aufdenkamp and Officer Matt Dyess responded to a loud music complaint on Tyrol Court in the Aspenwood Apartments. Although they did not hear any loud music, they did notice a man, Steven Askew, asleep in a Crown Victoria. When they approached, the two noticed a handgun in Askew's car. Aufdenkamp and Dyess then knocked on the windows and issued verbal commands to Askew, who, according to the officers, armed himself with his gun and pointed it at them. The two officers fired their weapons and Askew was killed. Officers Aufdenkamp and Dyess have both been relieved of duty with pay while the matter is investigated.
Among other things, Aufdenkamp's file reveals four workstation complaints against him and seven reports filed by Aufdenkamp of citizens resisting arrest — including five within a three month period and some that involved the use of chemical spray and physical force.
"The 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," the report reads. "Several complainants explained, in their own words, that they felt Aufdenkamp would intentionally ratchet up the level of pressure on the scene when it wasn't necessary."
On January 5th, 2012, Aufdenkamp was involved in a verbal altercation with a fellow officer on a traffic stop. According to the report, "the original conversation was with another officer, but Aufdenkamp interjected himself into the altercation and other officers had to stop between them to prevent it from escalating."
Later that month, the Internal Affairs Bureau received a complaint that Officer Aufdenkamp was "rude and disrespectful" during a traffic stop and had "approached with his gun out."
Aufdenkamp was then referred to the Early Intervention Program and placed on desk duty. In March of 2012, Aufdenkamp was ordered to attend Anger Management.
There are numerous other instances in which Aufdenkamp apparently did not follow protocol, failing to report when he bottomed out and disabled his patrol car in May of 2011, and leaving roll call to engage in what became a unreported domestic disturbance in September of that same year. In April of 2011, MPD received a complaint that Aufdenkamp stopped a violator and supposedly roughed him up, searched him for no reason, broke his rear windshield with a flashlight, and got on his loud speaker and said, "Speed up or I'm going to take your black-ass to jail."
"The supervisors would like Officer Aufdenkamp to learn to use his verbal skills more effectively," the report summary reads. "As a result of the Department Investigation, Aufdenkamp was temporarily assigned to the Precinct front desk because if he continues to generate complaints, he could be placed in an official non-enforcement status for up to six months, according to the rules of the Early Intervention Program."