(Memphis) The families of two men killed by Memphis police officers in January 2013 filed separate lawsuits Wednesday against the city, alleging that the officers and city violated the victims’ civil rights by using excessive force.
Steven Askew’s family says he was asleep in his car when police fired 22 shots at him.
The 24-year-old had a weapon, which he was licensed to carry, in the vehicle with him, but forensic evidence confirms he didn’t shoot at the officers.
An officer involved had been terminated from MPD for not meeting the minimum firearm proficiency standards during training, but was rehired and “had a history of unnecessarily escalating situations with citizens prior to this incident,” according to the families’ attorneys.
Donald Moore was killed when TACT Unit officers served a search warrant for a potential violation of an animal control ordinance.
The 67-year-old, who had no criminal history, went into his bedroom to call 9-1-1 for help when the officers forcibly entered the home.
In July, the city released the 911 call Moore made when the TACT team showed up at his house.
“I am sitting here and I hear somebody shooting and I don’t know if you shot my animals or not!” Moore says on the tape.
One second after he said that, an officer, who had previously been fired for use of excessive force but was reinstated and later promoted to the TACT Unit, shot Moore twice.
Before going into the home, the families’ attorneys say the officers were alerted to Moore’s potential mental health issues, but did not utilize crisis intervention officers while serving the warrant.
The officers involved in both incidents were fully exonerated by the city.
The families are each seeking $3 million in damages.