Politics

Dollree Mapp, Who Defied Police Search in Landmark Case, Is Dead

Police photos of Dollree Mapp in 1957. She resisted a search of her Cleveland home when officers could not produce a warrant (Associated Press)
Police photos of Dollree Mapp in 1957. She resisted a search of her Cleveland home when officers could not produce a warrant (Associated Press)

(New York Times) – On May 23, 1957, three police officers arrived at a house in Cleveland and demanded to enter. They wanted to question a man about a recent bombing and believed he was hiding inside. A woman who lived there, Dollree Mapp, refused to admit them.

It was a small gesture of defiance that led to a landmark United States Supreme Court ruling on the limits of police power.

Ms. Mapp told the officers that she wanted to see a search warrant. They did not produce one. A few hours later, more officers arrived and forced their way into the house. Ms. Mapp called her lawyer and again asked to see a warrant. When one officer held up a piece of paper that he said was a warrant, Ms. Mapp snatched it and stuffed it into her blouse. The officer reached inside her clothing and snatched it back.

The officers handcuffed Ms. Mapp — they called her “belligerent” — and then searched her bedroom, where they paged through a photo album and personal papers. They also searched her young daughter’s room, the kitchen, a dining area and the basement.

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