City of Memphis denies any wrongdoing after body left in van at impound lot

Bardomiano Perez Hernandez was left injured from a gunshot wound in a vehicle on MPD's impound...
Bardomiano Perez Hernandez was left injured from a gunshot wound in a vehicle on MPD's impound lot for 49 days and died from his injuries (Source: WMC Action News 5)(WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Feb. 25, 2019 at 10:32 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - More than a year after Memphis police failed to discover a homicide victim in the back of an impounded van, his family’s legal battle against the city is far from over.

In a filing, the city of Memphis admits mistakes were made in the case of Bardomiano Hernandez, the man left in a van at the police impound lot.

But the city also denies any liability in the case.

"I'm pretty angry cause they didn't work hard on the case,” said wife Maris Morales in February 2018.

Hernandez was left in a van for 49 days after being shot in December 2017 during a robbery.

Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings is outraged that officers didn't spot the body until the van was picked up at the impound lot.

“This incident is unacceptable,” Rallings said.

Hernandez’s estate filed a civil lawsuit asking for compensation.

The city of Memphis in a recently filed legal response said the family does not deserve compensation and denying any wrongdoing, writing “deny” more than 20 times in the response.

"They also claim in here it’s the comparative fault on the parts of the other two individuals that were in the van,” said attorney Claiborn Ferguson.

Ferguson, who is not associated with the case on either side, is talking about the two other men in the van, one in the driver’s seat who was severely injured and a man in the passenger seat.

It has never been made clear if either of the men told police about Hernandez in the back seat.

Ferguson says civil lawsuits like this are difficult to win for many reasons including legal protections that limit the liability of governments.

"Under the government Tort Liability Act, it’s very difficult to sue a government entity,” Ferguson said.

As far as actions against the officers involved, here’s what Mayor Jim Strickland said earlier this month.

“Evidence has to be taken and a hearing has to be conducted where the employee says their side of the story and the proof is offered. Hearings have taken place in that situation and I expect in the next 2 or 3 weeks the results will be learned.”

WMC5 contacted the head of the Memphis police association who said he could not confirm if any officers have already been disciplined in the case.

The estate of Bardomiano Hernandez is asking for a jury trial. Attorneys for the family are working on a response to the city’s response.

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