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

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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