Following an Associated Press investigation, Reason reports that Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar is facing pressure to suspend her campaign ahead of the Iowa caucuses. The push allegedly comes from Minneapolis N.A.A.C.P., Black Lives Matter, and other activists in the area.
The investigation covers Klobuchar’s time as a prosecutor in Hennepin County, Minnesota, and her prosecution of black teenager Myon Burrell for murder. Burrell was convicted for the death of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards amid a Minneapolis shootout in 2002.
The shootout involved three people: Ike Tyson, Hans Williams, and a third acquaintance. Although Burrell was deemed to be the third, the controversy stems from the fact that there was no physical evidence tying Burrell to the case. Not only that, Tyson — the man whose bullet killed Edwards in the crossfire — claimed that Burrell was not the third man.
Investigators also reportedly used jailhouse informants — one of which was a rival gang member — to implicate Burrell. At least two such informants have recanted their claims about Burrell, claiming that they were pressured by investigators to make them.
“Investigators failed to locate two people who said they were with Burrell at the convenience store during the shooting,” Reason reported. “Evidence that might clear Burrell, including video from a convenience store, has gone missing.”
Father of Myon Burrell who was imprisoned for life for murder of 11 year old girl , joins activists in denouncing @amyklobuchar – she was County Attorney during Burrell’s first trail @wcco will have updates pic.twitter.com/55NcBKvPfb
— esme murphy (@esmemurphy) January 29, 2020
Klobuchar is facing a particular backlash for refusing to let Burrell attend his mother’s funeral while he was in jail. She was reportedly driving home from a prison visit when she died in a car accident.
According to Burrell, who is now 33 years old, the authorities were aware of his innocence.
“They just didn’t feel like my life was worth living,” he said.
Per The New York Times, Leslie Redmond, the president of the Minneapolis chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., says the call for Klobuchar to suspend her campaign is not politically motivated.
“What I need people to understand is that this is not about partisanship and this is not about politics. This is about justice. This is about what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Redmond later addressed the Minnesota Sen. directly.
“Amy Klobuchar, you have questions that need to be answered,” she said.
In terms of average polling, Klobuchar is in seventh overall with 4.3 percent support ahead of the Iowa caucuses on February 3. Frontrunner Joe Biden reportedly contacted her campaign for an alliance for the gatherings, but she allegedly turned the idea down.
The Klobuchar campaign’s communications director Tim Hogan said the campaign is “on the rise,” noting that they “never” make such deals with other campaigns.