Consultant Investigates Memphis’ Rape Kit Backlog

(Memphis) “I hope the public will trust that I will do what is in its best interest. I prosecuted rape cases,” said Veronica Coleman-Davis.

She is passionate about tackling an issue under plenty of scrutiny.

“I can’t imagine any victim of any crime, not just a rape crime, not being able to have some closure,” she said.

Her new job is to get on top of what went terribly wrong with rape kit testing in Memphis over several years.

“I’m gonna start with people I know currently involved and go from there. It may expand out to former police directors if necessary,” she said.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton  tapped Coleman-Davis, a former U.S. Attorney now in private practice, to find out how thousands of rape kits just sat on shelves  and who was behind it.

Wharton says it could have repercussions for some people.

“I don’t go into this with any preconceived notion. I want to know the good, the bad, the ugly,” said Coleman-Davis.

She plans to talk  to police, organizations responsible for the testing, and even to News Channel 3, since our investigation broke the story that for years police denied.

“I am not out to get anybody. Maybe that’s what people need to know. That’s not my purpose to get any one individual. I am looking at the process and there are hundreds of people involved,” said Coleman-Davis.

She says her work will take a couple months. She’ll send what she finds to the mayor.

We asked if the public should be privy to the finding.

“I am mulling over that. I don’t know how I will deal with that just yet, but I will in couple of weeks,” she said.

Plenty of eyes will be watching.

Coleman-Davis also said she plans to find out how other cities handled their backlog of rape kits, and that this problem is not unique to Memphis.