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By Doha Madani
The Memphis Police Department sanctioned nine employees after the body of a homicide victim was left in a van for seven weeks.
Disciplinary measures have varied and include suspensions and layoffs, police chief Mike Rallings said at a press conference held on Wednesday.
"The officers made mistakes, we made mistakes," said Rallings. "And we are working to prevent such an incident from happening again."
Bardomiano Perez Hernandez's body was found behind the front seats of a van impounded on February 5, 2018, seven weeks after the seizure of the vehicle as evidence.
An autopsy revealed that Hernandez had died as a result of a gunshot wound to his chest. He was 33, according to WMC, an affiliate channel of NBC in Memphis.
The vehicle was impounded in December 2017 after thieves opened fire on two men sitting inside their cars, Rallings said. An on-scene officer checked the vehicle before it was impounded, but did not see anyone inside.
The police also stated that the two men who were shot at had not reported any passengers at the time of the robbery.
Two men were arrested in connection with Hernandez's attempted robbery and death. A third suspect is still on the run, said Rallings.
Hernandez's family filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that he could have survived if the police had found him in time, according to WMC.
Rallings told reporters that he assumed "full responsibility" for the fact that Hernandez had not been found on time.
"It's a major mistake, and the responsibility lies with me," he said.
The Memphis police have since introduced new policies on how the seized cars will be examined before entering their lot and drew up a visual inventory of approximately 1,700 vehicles. The officers also received training on crime scenes, said Rallings.