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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A year after her death, a family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

The family of Sabrina Nguyen alleges the agencies didn’t do enough to protect her from her ex-boyfriend, and they believe she would still be here today had her cries for help been answered.

“This is a sad time for us, especially once it’s been a year since Sabrina has been gone, and it just feels so unreal that she’s gone,” Sabrina’s brother Jimmy Nguyen said.

Police say the 18-year-old was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend Keedrin Coppage last January.

Left: Keedrin Coppage, 22. Right: Sabrina Nguyen

The family says she made multiple reports to police of how he kidnapped, threatened and harrassed her repeatedly before her death.

“We’re not talking about negligence. We’re not talking about a failure to investigate. We’re talking about an affirmative refusal to protect,” civil rights attorney Mike Laux said.

The civil rights lawsuit states, “Sabrina’s tragic, untimely death was caused by the wrongful affirmative acts and omissions committed by the defendants.” 

It goes on to allege her claims were not taken seriously and her 14th Amendment rights were violated because of her race, gender and socio-economic background.

“If Sabrina were from an affluent part of town and were white, everything else the same, we believe it would not have turned out this way,” Laux said.

Family knows this won’t bring sabrina back but hopeful it can protect another domestic violence victim from the same fate. They are suing for an unspecified amount of damages on Sabrina’s behalf.

WREG reached out to both the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and Memphis Police Department about the lawsuit and have not heard back.