Multiple racial justice groups have called on White House hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to suspend her presidential campaign after a story from the Associated Press highlighted her role in a case during her time as Hennepin County’s district attorney.
As district attorney for the county, Klobuchar led the case against Myon Burrell, who was sentenced to life in prison for the 2002 murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. At the time of his sentencing, Burrell was a teenager. He is now 33-years-old and the AP story revealed that Klobuchar prosecuted Burrell without substantial evidence and dismissed a confession from the co-defendant who claimed Burrell was not at the scene.
According to reports, Klobuchar also denied Burrell’s request to attend his mother’s funeral after he filed an appeal and claimed he was a threat to society. Edwards’s father has previously stated that he also believes Burrell was wrongfully convicted for the murder of his daughter.
The groups who have requested that Klobuchar suspend her campaign include the Racial Justice Network, Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, and Communities United Against Police Brutality.
Leslie Redmond, president of the Minneapolis NAACP said:
What I need people to understand is this isn’t about partisanship and this isn’t about politics. This is about justice. … This isn’t just a situation that happened to the Central Park Five alone. This is a situation that happens all around America. This is a situation that happens right here in Minnesota.
Young people. young adults were given life sentences to rot away in prison. This benefits no one. However, it does benefit politicians that have used the criminal justice system to enhance their political careers and enough is enough.
In a statement to The Hill, Klobuchar’s campaign attempted to defend her record as Hennepin County’s district attorney.
“Senator Klobuchar has advocated for reforms to our criminal justice system over the years, including during her time as Hennepin County Attorney,” the campaign said. “If there is new evidence in this case, it should be immediately reviewed by the court.”