Memphis Sent Only 120 Rape Kits When State Offered Free Testing In 2003

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(Memphis) As WREG leads the way on the untested rape kit story, now this: you're being asked to pay millions for what we found could have been done for free.

So far, the city has agreed to pay a $1 million down payment on the $6 million it will cost to test the huge backlog.

But now, new documents show the state could have tested most, if not all, for free, but Memphis chose to turn over only a fraction of the thousands of kits gathering dust.

Memphis City Council members held little back, frustrated that evidence in more than 12,000 rape cases was left on shelves for years.

Councilman Myron Lowery said, "I think the police department failed the citizens of this city ten years ago, and I'd like to know why."

Now the On Your Side investigators have uncovered more startling evidence.

In 2003, TBI got a grant for more than $3 million. It asked Memphis and other cities to send in any rape kits where there was no suspect, for free testing.

But Memphis only sent 120 kits, while thousands sat untouched.

Councilwoman Wanda Halbert said, "You seem to be more successful with getting answers than members of the council."

Halbert admitted she ignored letters from WREG, in which we exposed the rape kit problem, four years ago. She says administrators told her we were wrong, but now she say the city should have acted then.

"The mayor says, 'Lets not point fingers and place blame,' but when you're asking citizens to pay millions for a process, that should have been paid for by the state."

Tuesday, former Memphis judge turned TV personality Joe Brown told elected officials to get their act together.

He's running for DA and says all city leaders are vulnerable unless they find out who did this and hold them accountable."It's disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful," he said. "It's been going on a while. Hell, I was still on the bench when some of these rape kits were assembled."

Mayor A C Wharton is hoping the state legislature might come up with some of the $5 million still needed to test the backlog of kits.

He's also asked former U.S. attorney Veronica Coleman-Davis to investigate which people were behind the decades-long decision not to test the kits.


  • John Mosby

    Need to see who was responsible. Any current employees should be terminated. Any past employees should have benefits/pensions annulled (as these people did not do the intended job, they should not be compensated with priviledges!). Need to have accountability!

  • Wake Up

    There ought to be jail time for the administration over any rapes this could have prevented – period. The police are totally unaccountable and they demand accountability, cash and jail time from us.

    There was a time I was a knee jerk supporter. After the militarization, roadblocks, forced blood draws, no knock swat bs, abuses etc, I’ve realized the leadership is our enemy. Unless it is a real cop, injured or killed in the line of real police work, I don’t even feel bad when the thugs win.

    Real police wear blue uniforms in marked cars and respect the constitution.

  • Wake Up

    And just to be clear, the bulk of the mpd are not sickos with personality disorders. They have plenty of chances (in this city) for abuses and there are relatively few of them. Go to a smaller town to see the real sickos.

  • Thomas H. Evans

    “Let’s not point fingers” says our mayor; then what should we do, just ignore it as if it didn’t happen. By all means we should point fingers right down to the person or person’s responsible back in 2003. This town is run by who you know and not what you know and can do to move this city forward. It is also run by people like “David Carter,” ignorance!

  • It's what I know

    Guarantee you it’s was blacks who made those decisions. Like I keep saying, everywhere you have blacks in charge it’s messed up. Look at every city, the country and the other countries like Haiti and Africa and so on. They have no sense running things. Not being ugly just pointing out the truth. It’s like you give them the keys to a Cadillac and they will turn it into a Buick. Have no sense. Why revote a lying idiot back in office that’s ruining this country. Why cuz he is black. Do you like the gas prices and cost of everything? Well thank your monkey president. Oh he is half white African. Even though he look all monkey.

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