City denies responsibility for death of man found in back of van after 49 days in MPD impound lot

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis denied more than 50 allegations against them in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Bardamino Perez-Hernandez.

Perez-Hernandez’s body was found in the back of a van in The Memphis Police Department’s impound lot 49 days after he was killed in December of 2017.

His family filed the lawsuit against the city. Their lawyers, Murray Wells and Aaron Neglia, held a press conference back in October calling for the city to be held accountable.


“You’ve already admitted that you made a made a mistake. You admitted there’s a problem,” Murray Wells said about the city. “Let me go to this grieving wife with a two-year-old daughter and say that city is doing something.”

In a response to the lawsuit, the city said the people involved in the incident – not the city itself – are the people to blame for Mr. Perez-Hernandez’s death. His death stemmed from a robbery turned shooting.

The city said the two other victims who were also in the van, along with the accused robbers, are at fault.

When the body was discovered in February of 2018, Memphis Police Director, Michael Rallings, admitted police made a mistake. He went on to call it an embarrassment.

“We are all upset,” Director Rallings said during a news conference at the time. “We want to deliver the service that our citizens deserve, and I can't say that we did that on the situation. It's unacceptable.”

A little more than a year later, the city is no longer admitting fault.

The initial lawsuit filed by Mr. Perez-Hernandez’s family said if officers had conducted the investigation correctly, Hernandez’s body would have been found and he could have been saved.

However, the city’s answer reads “Defendants and its agents/employees exercised that degree of are reasonable, prudent and proper, and committed no negligence which proximately caused any of the injuries or damages alleged.”

FOX13 received a statement from the City of Memphis that reads “While we acknowledge mistakes were made in the handling of Mr. Perez-Hernandez’s body, we firmly believe the City of Memphis is not legally responsible for his death.”