MPD officers disciplined, third suspect sought in case of body found in impound lot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Eight officers and a civilian worker were disciplined following the investigation into a body that was found in a police impound lot in December 2017, and another suspect in the man's death is still at-large, Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said Friday.

Rallings said the vehicle that was found to have the body of Bardo Hernandez was checked, but no officers saw the body. He also said MPD has changed some policies concerning vehicles brought into the impound lot.

Hernandez, who had been shot in a robbery, remained in the vehicle for 49 days until it was about to be sold at auction.

"Our officers, they tried to do the right thing, but they missed the mark," Rallings said.

Rallings also said two suspects were captured and are in custody for the murder of the victim that was found, but a third suspect has not been captured.

Most of the officers charged received minor punishments. The vehicle storage service representative, John Powell, was terminated from the position. The full list of officers charged is below.

  • Officer Keeley Greer was found to be in violation of Departmental Regulation 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: In-car/Body Worn Camera. Officer Greer received a written reprimand. 
  • Officer David Wagner was found to be in violation of Departmental Regulation 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: In-car/Body Worn Camera, 101 Compliance with regulations to wit: Radio Procedures, and 601 Completing Official Reports. Officer Wagner received a written reprimand.
  • Officer Thomas Ray was found to be in violation of Departmental Regulation 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: In-car/Body Worn Camera, 101 Compliance with regulations to wit: Radio Procedures, and 601 Completing Official Reports. Officer Ray received a written reprimand.
  • Officer Steve Theriac was found to be in violation of Departmental Regulation 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: In-car/Body Worn Camera, and 120 Neglect of Duty. Theriac received a 20-day unpaid suspension, a written reprimand and was ordered to attend remedial Crime Scene Management Training.
  • Sergeant Kevin Williams was found to be in violation of Department Regulation 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: Tow-In Policy and 120 Neglect of Duty. Sgt. Williams received a 20-day unpaid suspension and was ordered to attend remedial Crime Scene Management Training.
  • Officer Jeffrey Arthur was found to be in violation of Department Regulation 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: Security of Crime Scenes, 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: Tow-In Policy, and 120 Neglect of Duty. Officer Arthur received a 20-day unpaid suspension, a written reprimand, and was ordered to attend remedial Crime Scene Management Training.
  • Officer Lee Walker was found to be in violation of Department Regulation 101 Compliance with Regulations to wit: Crime Scene SOP and 120 Neglect of Duty. Officer Walker received a 20-day unpaid suspension and was ordered to attend remedial Crime Scene Management Training.
  • Sergeant Lee Allison was found to be in violation of departmental regulations Compliance with Regulations to wit: Investigative Services SOP, Appendix J, Section II (Scene Investigations) and 120 Neglect of Duty. Sgt. Allison received a demotion to the rank of Patrol Officer, a 10-day suspension and remedial Crime Scene Management Training.
  • Vehicle Storage Service Representative (VSSR) John Powell was found to be in violation of Policy Manual Grounds for Disciplinary Action/Discipline and Appeals #1, Departmental Regulations 120 Neglect of Duty and 130 Inventory and Processing Recovered Property. VSSR Powell received a 10-day suspension and was terminated.

"This is a major mistake, and the buck stops with me," Rallings said .

He said he wants the department to hire more Hispanic officers to better reflect the community.

Murray Wells, attorney for Hernadez's family, said he was encouraged that the department had taken responsibility for overlooking the body, but disappointed that police did not take responsibility for Hernandez's death. Evidence after the fact showed that he might have lived if he had received medical attention a timely manner, Wells said.

"Our evidence and the testimony of the medical examiner was it was possible for Bardomiano to survive had he received immediate care," Wells said.

Director Rallings couldn't answer that, but attorneys hope he and Mayor Jim Strickland will answer other questions in a deposition as they move forward with a $300,000 lawsuit against the city.

"We want to get both of those men under oath to explain to us their perspective on what the city did wrong," Wells said.

Police said Mardracus “Pig” West and Earl “Lil D, Rico” Brown confessed to shooting  Hernandez and two other men during an attempted robbery in the 3000 block of Yale.

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