A Memphis attorney will wait but said a lawsuit could be on the table for the family of man found dead and left for weeks in a Memphis Police impound lot.
Last Monday, 33-year-old Bardomiano Perez Hernandez was found in the back of a van in that lot, left unnoticed for seven weeks.
Attorney Murray Wells said the handyman often traveled out of town for weeks on jobs, so while worried, his family wasn’t concerned enough to call police. Then last week, it was police who contacted the family after the grisly discovery.
“The incredible damage was done the second that police failed to look inside the van,” says Wells.
That blunder, which Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings called unacceptable, is why Wells is now representing the family of Hernandez, a father at the center of a story drawing national attention and local outrage.
“This looks like this is a pure ‘they just missed it.’ It wasn’t a policy or practice of the police department,” says Wells. “We believe this is simply a breach of duty.”
Authorities said Hernandez was shot inside this van December 18th in Binghampton, when three men approached and fired in a botched robbery. Hernandez wasn’t found in the van that night and wouldn’t be found until last Monday at MPD’s impound lot.
Wells said his team’s early indication is Hernandez suffered one gunshot to the upper abdomen, potentially treatable had he been rushed to the hospital as another victim in that shooting was.
“Preliminary, our expert say that is not usually an instantaneous death shot,” says Wells.
Wells said his firm isn’t ready to file a lawsuit seeking damages from the city of Memphis, but could depending on the outcome of MPD’s own internal investigation. Depending on what that investigation reveals, Wells could file a negligence lawsuit against the city of Memphis. The highest possible amount awarded in such a suit is $750,000.
Wells said his legal team is also aware of two MPD employees directly connected to the initial crime scene in December.
“We know the officers are that were involved, we expect that there’s going to be disciplinary proceedings with respect to those officers, both the lead officer and the on-scene officer,” says Wells. “If they don’t hold them accountable, then I think the family would want that to happen.”
“If you don’t get terminated over that, then the question is what does it take to lose your job at the Memphis Police Department?” says Wells.
For the mother of Hernandez’s daughter, the short-term shock is now a long term waiting game.
“There doesn’t seem to be anger in her heart, but she really wants answers is just perplexed about what happened,” says Wells.
Police charged 19-year-old Mardracus West and 20-year-old Earl Brown in connection with the December robbery and deadly shooting. Both appeared in court Monday.
A city of Memphis and MPD spokesperson didn’t have any additional comment Tuesday. We’ve made requests for officer body camera footage that day and MPD’s impound lot vehicle search policy, and are waiting on a response.