Klobuchar should learn from past as attorney and work toward reform

Angelica Tejada, Opinions Editor

On March 2, Sen. Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the 2020 presidential race after concerns of her past as an attorney was raised into question.

During ABC News’ third 2020 Democratic Debate on Sept. 12, 2019, Klobuchar mentioned the case when ABC News Correspondent Linsey Davis, asked her if she wished she would have done more during her 8 years as a prosecutor in Minnesota.

“When I came into that office, we worked with the community groups; we put up billboards; we found the shooter and we put him in jail,” said Klobuchar. “We did the same for the killer of a little girl named Tyesha Edwards who was doing her homework at her kitchen table and was shot through the window.”

The “shooter” Klobuchar put behind bars in 2002 for the killing of Edwards was a black teenager, Myon Burrell, who is now 33 years old and has spoke out to news organizations placing the blame of his sentence on Klobuchar.

“She recharged me with first-degree murder, never looked into the facts of the case. Never looked into the misconduct that had taken place,” said Burrell in a statement to ABC News. “Never even addressed the misconduct that had taken place,” he continued, “And still put the same detective, the same police on my case to go and get more bogus evidence.”

The Associated Press carried an investigation into the case and found new evidence that placed uncertainties on Klobuchar’s decision to send Burrell to prison for life. “There was no gun, fingerprints or DNA. Alibis were never seriously pursued. Key evidence has gone missing or was never obtained, including convenience store surveillance tape that Burrell and others say would have cleared him,” as reported by the Associated Press.

To watch Klobuchar highlight this case as a prime example of her “getting it done” and then seeing how flawed the case was makes no one believe her, which inevitably ran her out of the presidential race.

Burrell’s co-defendants have admitted to acting in part in the killing of Edwards, and they have said that Burrell “was not even there,” according to the AP. “For years, one of them…has insisted he was actually the triggerman. Police and prosecutors refused to believe him, pointing to the contradictory accounts in the early days of the investigation.”

The day before Klobuchar ended her 2020 presidential campaign, she was forced to cancel a campaign rally in her home state, Minnesota, after protesters gathered in defense of justice for Burrell.

“Over 50 protesters from a number of groups, which included representatives from Burrell’s family, Minneapolis NAACP and Black Lives Matter, gathered outside of the front entrance,” according to NBC News. “They chanted sayings like, ‘hey hey, ho ho Klobuchar has got to go’, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘free Myon,’ in reference to Burrell’s case.”

If Klobuchar stayed running for president, this case and the flaws that have been uncovered would have caused more people to question her motives and how it would transcend into her actions if elected as president.

Regardless of Klobuchar’s presidential campaign, the manner in which Burrell was placed behind bars on a life sentence, is a flaw in a system that places innocent people in jail. This kind of doing is one that backtracks the United States from moving past the injustices within the criminal justice system.

The Innocence Project is a nonprofit organization that’s mission “is to free the staggering number of innocent people who remain incarcerated, and bring reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment,” according to the Innocence Project website. Organizations like the Innocence Project work to help those people, like Burrell that people in a position to make powerful choices have wrongfully convicted.

Now that Klobuchar is out of the presidential race, this case and Burrell’s sentence should not be ignored or brushed off. Klobuchar, “while stopping short of apologizing, has called for the case to be reviewed,” according to The New York Times. Ending her presidential campaign was inevitable as she faced the backlash, which will get worse from the public if action is not taken place on her end.

When a person within the political system makes a mistake, that marks their record, it is vital for them to redeem their actions by becoming active in fixing what they have done.

The group protesters for Burrell that spoke out against Klobuchar worked together in order to not let someone with a questionable past have a seat in the Oval Office, and they succeeded.