Senator Amy Klobuchar has faced accusations that she dropped criminal charges against Derek Chauvin, the former police officer arrested for killing George Floyd in Minnesota. Now, the Hennepin Country attorney is setting the record straight, saying that the rumors are “absolutely false” and a “lie” in a new interview with MSNBC.
Klobuchar has been criticized by activists such as those belonging to Black Lives Matter, and pundits have suggested that the matter makes the Minnesota senator an unlikely candidate for Joe Biden’s vice-presidential pick in the upcoming race. For his part, Biden has vowed that Floyd’s family will see justice.
Klobuchar, who made a bid for president in the 2020 race, says that she had already been sworn into the Senate and was no longer a part of the case by the time it was sent to a grand jury.
“The case … was investigated. That investigation continued into a time where I was already sworn into the U.S. Senate. I never declined the case. It was handled and sent to the grand jury by my successor,” Klobuchar said.
Chauvin was charged with murder on Friday for his role in the death of Floyd, but it isn’t the first time that he has come up in front of a judge for his actions while on duty.
Chauvin was also a part of a group of six officers who shot and killed Wayne Reyes in 2006. The man pulled a gun on the officers who responded with fire. Chauvin and the other five officers were investigated, and while she could have charged them at the time, she decided to let the investigation proceed. Before it concluded, she left office and the case was eventually dropped after a grand jury decision.
Still, she says, she wishes she had acted differently.
“I have said repeatedly back when I was the county attorney, the cases we had involved with officer-involved shootings went to a grand jury. That was true in every jurisdiction across our state and many jurisdictions across the country,” she said. “I think that was wrong now. I think it would have been much better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself.”
Klobuchar said that she wants it to be made clear that she never blew off the case. It was handled, she says, in the typical manner and involved a grand jury, which ultimately recommended dropping the case.