Memphis, Tennessee (WMC) – Lawmakers and community leaders at the local, state, and national levels are studying after the city of Memphis is sued for neglecting to investigate Alicia Franklin’s sexual assault.
Franklin’s sexual assault kit was placed on a shelf in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s (TBI) crime lab about a year after she was attacked.
Many of these leaders expressed frustration about how long it took to process Franklin’s toolkit and put it into the national database.
Now, they’re talking about solutions to prevent this from happening to more women.
“We’re going to have to do whatever it takes to make sure that we put in place the delivery of these rape kits quickly so that the culprits can be put in jail and the innocent protected,” said Mark White, a representative from Tennessee.
Both White and state Senator Romish Akbari say additional funding for TBI is something that should be on the table for the next legislative session.
TBI says it takes 33 to 49 weeks to process and get results from rape screening kits; In Franklin’s case, it took nearly a year.
Leaders say that the time frame Need to be reduced.
“It’s ridiculous, and I hope we’re finally at the point where we won’t have this problem again,” Akbari said. “We will fund these entities and possibly set up our own crime lab in Memphis so that we can immediately address these groups and get these people off the street.”
Congressman Steve Cohen said he would support the federal government’s intervention in third-party monitoring of the MPD.
Cohen led funding to reduce the backlog of rape devices in Memphis a few years ago.
He believes the police have a duty to continue investigating the Franklin case.
“It was the situation. We thought Memphis would be on the front lines when we modernized their rapist children, and I think they are,” said Congressman Steve Cohen. “It was something we should be proud of; Instead, someone apparently from what we can collect from the police department has failed to do their job.”
This lawsuit and Franklin’s story resonate with many women and sexual assault survivors.
Cherisse Scott, SisterReach founder and CEO, says hearing Franklin’s story infuriates her as an advocate.
She says the Franklin case shows that police do not prioritize black women and their bodies.
“Black women are reluctant to come forward and say when we are hurt,” Scott said. “Black girls are hesitating. LGBT people in the city are hesitant to say, ‘I got hurt,’ because we understand that it starts and it goes up and down with our own energy, and we don’t necessarily see the same amount of urgency from the people we have to be. able to trust.”
Scott also says that she believes that nothing can be changed without the interrelationships between leaders in our society and those most vulnerable in it.
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