City council votes in favor of $500K grant to test rape kits - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City council votes in favor of $500K grant to test rape kits

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Victims, along with the Memphis Area Women's Council, met with Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, Memphis City Council, and Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich Tuesday to discuss the backlog of 7,068 untested rape kits. Victims, along with the Memphis Area Women's Council, met with Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, Memphis City Council, and Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich Tuesday to discuss the backlog of 7,068 untested rape kits.
The votes come after MPD made an announcement weeks ago that revealed thousands of rape kits have sat untested on shelves for decades. The votes come after MPD made an announcement weeks ago that revealed thousands of rape kits have sat untested on shelves for decades.
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council voted in support of reallocating $500,000 of the police budget for testing rape kits. Also, members approved Councilman Kemp Conrad's proposal to divert $1 million from another city project to build a climate-controlled rape kit storage facility that would serve as a DNA evidence room.

The votes come after MPD made an announcement weeks ago that revealed thousands of rape kits have sat untested on shelves for decades.

Two rape victims were brought together at the city council meeting Tuesday to stand up for the same cause.

The victims, along with the Memphis Area Women's Council, met with Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong, Memphis City Council, and Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich  to discuss the backlog of 7,068 untested rape kits that date as far back as the 1980s.

Terry Burks is a sexual assault survivor. She recognized Meaghan Ybos after seeing her share her own story on Action News 5. Both women are encouraging the city to test the dormant  rape kids.

Action News 5's cameras captured their emotional encounter.

"I'm just so glad that yours was solved," Terry said to Meaghan about her rape case.

The two victims hugged, cried, and acknowledged their mutual battle.

Burks will never forget the day: May 30, 1988. Her only chance to find the man who raped her was DNA testing.

"I saw a photo lineup and a physical lineup, and I couldn't pick him out," she said.

On Tuesday, Terry stood up before a room full of people to urge the city council to help find the man who raped her.

"I've been waiting 25 years for answers. My main question has been, 'What happened to my kit?' " she said.

Ybos' message for those who may or may not have come forward reverberated with Burks.

"I would like to say to all the other women and sexual assault victims in the community that you matter, and I believe you," said Ybos.

The women say they speak out for those suffering in silence.

"Rape kills a person in a way and I think you [Meaghan] can back me up on that," said Terry. "You have to really fight to get any resemblance of yourself back and for a lot of them, the fight is just too difficult. So I'm here for those who can't."

Weirich says testing the kits will be a painstaking process, but they must get it done.

"First of all, getting all of the kits out of the custody of the Memphis Police Department and getting them into a lab ... And getting that testing process done and then we begin working those cases," she said.

Council member Janis Fullilove led the charge in grilling Director Toney Armstrong regarding the untested rape kits.

"I think you should hold all of them responsible, even police director Armstrong said well when I came there I knew about it," said Armstong. 

The council demanded answers, but members know the blame list is long.

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