City of Memphis wants Alicia Franklin lawsuit dismissed

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 10:37 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Attorneys for the City of Memphis are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Alicia Franklin.

Franklin sued the City of Memphis saying if Memphis police had not failed to properly investigate her case, Memphis mother Eliza Fletcher would still be alive.

Both of these cases have gained national attention about how much time it takes to test sexual assault kits and the need for more funding to get it done.

They’ve even led to the creation of a special state committee in Tennessee.

The motion from the city was filed almost one week ago.

Franklin sat down with Action News 5 in September saying she took Memphis police back to the place she says she was raped and gave them the information of her alleged attacker, Cleotha Henderson.

“They just walked around, they walked out the little back slide door, where the Charger was parked at,” Franklin said. “Where he forced me in the car and raped me. That’s it. They didn’t fingerprint for anything, nothing like that.”

Franklin’s sexual assault kit sat on a shelf at the TBI lab in Jackson for nearly a year and was entered into a national database three days after Fletcher’s body was found.

“For the simple fact, I felt that MPD, the detectives that were supposed to help me, didn’t help me. I feel like they were trying to hide my story,” she continued. “I felt as though it was a more so of a cover-their-backs thing. It wasn’t really about me.”

According to a motion filed in Shelby County Circuit Court by Attorney Tannera Gibson, if the lawsuit cannot be dismissed, the city wants “immaterial, impertinent and scandalous allegations” removed from it.

Franklin’s attorneys Gary Smith and Jeff Rosenblum say the city’s failure to arrest Henderson before he murdered Fletcher is the real scandal.

They told Action News 5 in a statement:

“The city says it has no duty to thoroughly investigate serious crimes, perhaps they should consult the citizens they serve about that. The city further says it is scandalous to connect the Alicia Franklin rape and Eliza Fletcher’s murder but we say the scandal was the city’s failure to arrest the rapist and allow him to remain free for a year before he murdered Ms. Fletcher. The city’s protest rings hollow.”

Judge Mary L. Wagner will decide what happens next.

A hearing to decide the fate of Franklin’s lawsuit has not been announced yet.

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