Minneapolis NAACP Calls On Amy Klobuchar To Suspend Presidential Campaign Over Damning Report Involving Black Teen
Black civil rights leaders in Minnesota want Sen. Amy Klobuchar to end campaign for convicting a seemingly innocent black teen.
January 30, 2020 at 6:05 pm
Civil rights organizations in Minnesota are requesting Sen. Amy Klobuchar suspend her campaign for president after a story published by the Associated Press on Tuesday brought to light problems involving her prosecutorial past.
The AP revealed that the former Hennepin County District Attorney led a case in 2002 involving a Black teen named Myon Burrell, now 33, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards despite there being "little evidence."
Burrell was blamed for a stray bullet that pierced Edwards' heart while she was doing homework at her family's dining room table, according to the AP. On October 23, 2019, Burrell spoke to the AP about his defense inside the Stillwater Correctional Facility in Stillwater, Minnesota. He was convicted with no gun, fingerprints or hard evidence implicating him — and he has maintained his innocence, the AP reports. According to a confession by one of Burrell’s co-defendants, who admitted to the crime, Burrell was not there.
“I’m the one that did this,” co-defendant Ike Tyson, told the AP. “I did it.” Tyson is currently serving a 45-year sentence.
Even at the time of Burrell's sentencing, his prosecution confused and outraged several legal experts, community leaders and civil rights activists who believed he was wrongly convicted, reports the AP.
Now, leaders from the Minneapolis NAACP, Racial Justice Network, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar and Communities United Against Police Brutality are demanding Klobuchar end her campaign for president, reports The Hill.
“What I need people to understand is this isn’t about partisanship and this isn’t about politics,” Leslie Redmond, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, said in a press conference via The Hill. “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."
Speaking of the Central Park Five, Klobuchar was pressured to return funds received from Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein who wrongly charged five innocent Black and Latino teenagers for the rape of a white woman in Central Park.
"Young people, young adults were given life sentences to rot away in prison," Redmond said. "This benefits no one. However, it does benefit politicians who use the criminal justice system to benefit their political careers. Enough is enough.”
The Minnesota senator’s response to the situation was to highlight moments of her career that focused on advocating for criminal justice reform in her county. Klobuchar's campaign defended her record as Hennepin County DA and said the Minnesota Democrat has advocated for criminal justice reform.
“Senator Klobuchar has advocated for reforms to our criminal justice system over the years, including during her time as Hennepin County Attorney," her campaign said in a statement to The Hill. "If there is new evidence, in this case, it should be immediately reviewed by the court.”