There’s a major district attorney election in Memphis on Thursday. The race pits incumbent District Attorney Amy Weirich against Professor Steve Mulroy, a George Soros-styled, soft-on-crime Democrat. Weirich warned that if Mulroy is elected, Memphis will look just like war-torn San Francisco. Following is a rush transcript of Todd’s interview with Weirich. Listen to the full interview above.
STARNES: [00:24:02] Your opponent has made a point of saying, well, you’ve been you’ve been sending many young people, juveniles, to the adult court. I’m just going to ask this is as straightforward as I can. The people, the young people that that have been tried in adult court are those people who have stolen a bicycle or maybe they put chewing gum on the side of the sidewalk or something of that nature?
WEIRICH: Absolutely not. The 40 juveniles that were transferred last year by the juvenile court system at the request of our office, committed murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, rape, carjacking, aggravated robbery, criminal attempt murder. These are, the majority of them are 17 years old. And if we didn’t seek transfer at the age of 19, the jurisdiction of the juvenile court runs out and they would be released from custody with absolutely no supervision, no control, no regulations on their conduct. If we didn’t seek that remedy, I wish we didn’t have to. I wish we didn’t have so many juveniles committing the violent crime that we’re seeing in this community, but the answer is not just releasing them.
STARNES: And, you know, I’ve seen the debates and I’ve yet to hear a reporter ask Professor Mulroy the question, ‘Okay, out of the 40 people, which ones would you have charged as a juvenile? Which family doesn’t get justice?’
WEIRICH:Right. And that’s, you know, something I’ve said over and over again. I don’t think this community, because I go everywhere in this community, from North Memphis, to Westwood, to Cordova, to Chelsea, to Smokey City, to Southwind, it doesn’t matter. Everywhere I go in Shelby County, the citizens want the same thing. They want a district attorney who’s going to fight hard when the violent crime occurs. That doesn’t mean that we don’t also do a lot to help rehabilitate and a lot to help intervene. But if the. Violence continues. And if a juvenile or an adult offender continues to victimize, they leave us no choice as prosecutors.
STARNES: You know, a very recent example, you had a 15-year-old who was wearing one of those ankle monitors. Accused now of killing, carjacking and killing a beloved Methodist minister here in town. And there is a raging debate going on right now about whether or not that young man should face charges as an adult.
WEIRICH: Right. And it’s a debate that’s going on in the community, and I have great respect for those who have a different opinion than I do. And I think it would be a wonderful legacy, and memory, and honor of Pastor Williams to do all we can to build up and to enhance the resources available for our young people. But right now, what I am faced with, as district attorney, are two juveniles accused of a very serious, the most serious, violent crime that we have. And I have a responsibility, not simply to that family but to the entire community, that I serve to do the right thing and to make that tough decision to seek transfer.
The interview continues.
STARNES: [00:29:29] You and I are about the same age, and I don’t know about you, but when people try to throw around the race card, there’s something inside of me that just sets me off and it angers me. Because by and large, I think, you know, we have a strong community and there are people out there trying to divide us. And your opponent has all but accused you of being a racist. How do you deal with that?
WEIRICH: Well, I tend to ignore it. It’s infuriating because what it says to me, not only accusing me of it, but accusing the hard-working men and women of the district attorney’s office who go to work every day fighting for justice. The police department is not out making arrests based upon anybody’s skin color. The police department reacts when a crime occurs, a victim of that crime or a witness of that crime reports it. They pass on information. What did they see? What did they hear? What did they notice? They pass that on to law enforcement. And law enforcement does their job investigating that case and hopefully making an arrest and bringing us someone to prosecute. But to say that we’re doing anything based upon race is nothing more than inflammatory and inciteful.
STARNES: Look, I’ve seen you out there. You’re a tough lady and and a terrific district attorney, and they’ve come after you. And I remember when I had just moved back home to Memphis, I’d lived in Brooklyn for 15 years, and someone said, ‘You’re not going. I believe this, but they’re going after the district attorney’s home’ and they actually, the activist, went after your home and fired fireworks, incendiary devices at your home.
STARNES: How do you deal with stuff like that?
WEIRICH: Well, fortunately, none of my children were home. Fortunately, I was there alone and my husband who was out of town, and I’m very thankful for that. The police department responded very quickly, and fortunately nobody was hurt and there was no serious property damage. They burned. I had it was the 4th of July, and I had lined my yard with some flags, and they decided to burn all of those. But, you know, again, if that’s how you have to act to try to get a point across, that’s unfortunate because I am incredibly accessible by phone, by, you know, if you want to stop by and visit and talk to me about things that you’re concerned about in the community, but showing up at someone’s private home and setting their personal property on fire doesn’t seem to be a very productive way of getting anything done in this community.
STARNES: It’s unacceptable. It is what it is. Election early voting numbers, not very good for Republicans. There’s been some concern. I want you because election day tomorrow and people need to understand what is at stake. What does Memphis, Tennessee, look like if Steve Mulroy gets elected district attorney?
WEIRICH:Memphis, Tennessee, looks like San Francisco. Memphis, Tennessee looks like many other cities that are grappling with and struggling with an increase in crime, not simply because they’ve elected a D.A. who says, here’s the long list of things I’m not going to do, but the impact that that has on your law enforcement. Law enforcement is already struggling enough in this community because of COVID, because of understaffing, but you’ve got to have a district attorney that is willing and able to stand up and fight for the victims of crime and to enforce the law. It doesn’t mean, I believe that everybody should go to prison. I’ve created more alternatives to incarceration and alternatives to traditional prosecution than many, many D.A.s Across the country combined. But what you have to have is that district attorney who understands that the answer to our crime problem is not simply releasing people from prison.
STARNES: Well, best of luck to you, Amy. And again, full disclosure, I’m one of your donors and supporters, and I’m very proud to say that. And we wish you the very best. Folks, you got to get out and you got to go vote tomorrow.
WEIRICH: Thank you.