A professional article by University of Memphis law professor Steven Mulroy, who recently completed two four-year terms on the Shelby County Commission, has been cited in the recently released Department of Justice report on the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department.
The report focuses on police practices in Ferguson and was compiled in the wake of the well-publicized shooting death of African-American youth Michael Brown by a policeman in the St. Louis suburb in August 2014. Brown’s death resulted in immediate national controversy regarding both that event and police practices in general.
The DOJ report found evidence of conduct and practices in the Ferguson Police Department that “routinely violates the Constitution and federal law.” In a section devoted to Ferguson’s apparent short-circuiting of accepted “probable cause” requirements for detaining suspects, the report cited a 2013 Mulroy article in the Case Western Law Review
, entitled “Hold On: The Remarkably Resilient, Constitutionally Dubious '48-Hour Hold.'
Mulroy’s article, which the DOJ report found applicable to practices by the FPD, examines numerous instances in which police organizations in a number of places detained individuals who were regarded as suspects but for whom true “probable cause” evidence did not exist. Mulroy found a general pattern of abuse and unwarranted arrests to pertain in the cases he analyzed.
The former Commissioner, who was a candidate for Shelby County Mayor in the 2014 Democratic primary, has of late been a finalist to be considered by President Obama for appointment to fill several vacant federal judgeships.