Wrongful death lawsuits filed against city, police - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wrongful death lawsuits filed against city, police

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Donald Moore was shot and killed in his home on Cameron Ridge Trail in Cordova on January 11, 2013 while the TACT unit was serving a search warrant on an animal cruelty investigation. Donald Moore was shot and killed in his home on Cameron Ridge Trail in Cordova on January 11, 2013 while the TACT unit was serving a search warrant on an animal cruelty investigation.
Matthew Dyess (left), Ned Aufdenkamp (right) Matthew Dyess (left), Ned Aufdenkamp (right)
Phillip Penny, 36 Phillip Penny, 36
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The families of two men shot and killed by Memphis police officers in January 2013 have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the City of Memphis, Toney Armstrong, and four other police officers.

Attorneys for both families filed the complaints late Wednesday afternoon. Each complaint seeks $3 million in damages.

Donald Moore was shot and killed in his home on Cameron Ridge Trail in Cordova on January 11, 2013 while the TACT unit was serving a search warrant on an animal cruelty investigation. The complaints name TACT unit commander Major Charles Morris and officer Phillip Penny as other co-defendants.

In this lawsuit filed Wednesday, Moore's family claims officers made no attempt to end things peacefully and that Moore was shot, "three times with an M-4 rifle, at close range, without just cause." Read the lawsuit here.

At the time, police director Toney Armstrong said the shooting was justified.

"They encountered the suspect in inside the home he pointed the pistol at one of the officers the officer fired on him resulting in his death," he said.

Days later Steven Askew was shot and killed in his car at the Windsor Place Apartments January 17, 2013. Memphis police say they were investigating a noise complaint when they found Askew asleep in his car.

At the time, police say Askew pointed a gun at two police officers who tried to wake him up and they opened fire. The complaint names officers Ned Aufdenkamp and Matthew Dyess as other co-defendants.

His family's separate complaint claims the city and Director Armstrong created an environment of unconstitutionality. Where officers "believe they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, to whoever they want." Read the complaint here.

Both lawsuits mention the shooting death of officer Martoiya Lang, which took place the month before, and the "heightened alert" Armstrong admitted his officers were on.

The Shelby County District Attorney General's office declined to prosecute any of the officers involved in these cases. City officials offered little comment as of Wednesday.

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