Demand Improved Procedures for Rape Investigations


Target: Toney Armstrong, Director of Memphis Police Department

Goal: Improve procedures for conducting rape investigations and testing rape kits

Last month, a class-action lawsuit was filed against the Memphis Police Department for failing to test a backlog of approximately 15,000 rape kits. Each of these 15,000 kits represents a rapist who has not been brought to justice and a woman who has not received closure for a heinous crime that violated her autonomy. Many of the kits have been sitting untested in storage facilities for over a decade, as individuals filing the suit claim they submitted samples to Memphis Police Department Sexual Assault Evidence Kits as early as 2001.

The victims of rape have suffered a terrible ordeal and deserve to have their cases handled promptly and competently. Instead, they are forgotten by the authority figures who are obligated to protect them. The suit further alleges that the Memphis Police Department has a history of discriminating against females and treating domestic violence abuse reports from women as low-priority. It is of the utmost urgency that the department stamp out this trend of anti-female carelessness. By failing to test evidence that would secure the incarceration of violent offenders, Memphis Police willfully and recklessly allow rapists to remain at large and attack more victims.

Sign the petition below and demand that the Memphis Police Department amend their egregious negligence and allocate sufficient resources to investigating rape cases.


Dear Toney Armstrong,

I was shocked to learn that the Memphis Police Department has accrued a backlog of roughly 15,000 untested rape kits. A department tasked with protecting the city’s inhabitants should be held to the highest standard of duty. Allowing evidence kits to remain untested is a careless and egregious oversight that seriously disrupts community safety. Not only are the victims of rape unable to gain closure for the heinous crime they have endured, but the rapists who perpetrated these attacks remain at large and capable of repeating the offense. It is time to bring violent criminals to justice by testing critical evidence.

In the interest of public safety and respect for the victims of rape, it is of the utmost urgency that you clear the backlog. The current system for investigating rape cases in Memphis is obviously broken and has left thousands neglected. In 2014, the allocation of sufficient resources to investigate rape cases must be a top priority for the Memphis Police Department.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Chase Carter via Flickr

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313 Signatures

  • Alice Rim
  • Hermann Kastner
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • Terrie Phenicie
  • James Thrailkill
  • Mal Gaff
  • Holly Hall
  • Nancy Petersen
  • Melanie waleski
  • Ricki Newman
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