Controversial Memphis District Attorney Amy Weirich loses re-election bid

Republican District Attorney Amy Weirich, whose tough-on-crime approach has sparked controversy in the Memphis area for more than a decade, lost her bid for re-election as Shelby County’s senior prosecutor.

Democrat Steven Mulroy, a law professor at the University of Memphis who ran on a reform platform that included bail reforms, triumphed with more than 55% of the vote on Thursday evening.

Mulroy said Weirich conceded in the run in a Posting on Twitter.

Mulroy’s candidacy has been backed by local progressives in the area who want change in the county’s criminal justice system, primarily in the county seat of Memphis.

Weirich has presided over a sharp increase in violent crime in recent years; Memphis had the ninth-highest murder rate in the nation in 2019 and set a 2020 homicide record. That may have swayed voters who were put off by a lack of results — even as they bought into its punitive approach to prosecution.

During her campaign, Weirich said she made “no apologies for being tough on crime.” Over the years, Weirich has refused to bring criminal charges against officers in several high-profile shootings — even in cases where officers have been fired and reprimanded for violating department policies.

In contrast, Weirich embarked on an overzealous prosecution of Pam Moses, a black activist from Memphis, for attempting to register to vote despite a felony record. (Moses says local election officials told her she could register). Weirich dropped the charges soon after.

Weirich also touted “truth in sentencing” laws that would increase prison terms for some violent offenses, which have become a major problem in the countryside.

Mulroy ran ads attempting to link Weirich to former President Donald Trump, which likely helped his campaign in a heavily Democratic city. Weirich ran advertisements seeking to portray Mulroy as an extreme liberal; one included footage of Mulroy rallying to unionized Starbucks workers and accused him of fostering the “defund the police” movement.

Mulroy pushed back against the “defund” tag during a recent debate, but hasn’t been shy about supporting Starbucks workers.

“It is absolutely correct that the TV ad is harvesting and the doctors showing me at the Starbucks rally where I was gathering to defend the workers who had been fired for unionizing,” he said. said. “Contrary to what you have just heard, I have never pleaded for [defunding police]what I’ve been advocating for…is hiring more police, spending more money on training or recruiting, because that’s what helps fight real crime.

A recent report from HuffPost described how former prosecutors in his office were upset by the heavy workload and bristled at his tough-on-crime approach. Mulroy will become a district attorney after Weirich’s term ends Sept. 1. Shelby County is holding an unusual general election at the end of the summer.

The Huffington Gt

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