Saturday, May 15, 2010

Commissioner Mulroy Has Close Shave With Panhandler

Posted By on Sat, May 15, 2010 at 12:01 AM

courtesy of WMC-TV, Action News 5
  • courtesy of WMC-TV, Action News 5

One of the most-watched videos this week was that of a freak encounter (literally) involving Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy and an apparently homeless man in Overton Park, who alternately demanded money from Mulroy and threatened him. (See video here.)

All this happened Wednesday as Mulroy was being interviewed by Kontji Anthony of WMC-TV, Action News 5 outside Memphis Brooks Museum. As the commissioner, a professor of law at the University of Memphis, was answering her questions about the legal predicament of a man masquerading as a lawyer, the interloper approached.

“Are you messing with me?” the man reportedly began the conversation. A puzzled Mulroy assured him, that he wasn’t, and that began a troublesome dialogue during which the man repeatedly used profanity and demanded money, threatening the commissioner with bodily harm if he didn’t receive it.

Ultimately, the man went away, but not before there had been several scary (and some frankly comic) turns.

Mulroy himself, an opponent of the more stringent anti-panhandling ordinances under consideration by the City Council, saw the incident as reflecting more on the need for more local mental health measures.

After the afternoon report by Anthony had aired, Jason Miles of Channel 5 was able to track down the man who had accosted Mulroy, and Miles filed a subsequent story Wednesday night in which the man seemed to apologize for having hassled the commissioner. An interesting aspect of that report was the news that the man had had several brushes with the law, one for assault and battery.

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