Senator Amy Klobuchar is vying to run for Vice President alongside Joe Biden, but recent anti-police brutality protests in Klobuchar’s state of Minnesota could thwart her plan. There has been renewed scrutiny on Klobuchar’s record as a tough prosecutor in Minneapolis, and her reluctance to charge police officers, following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes.
The New York Times reports that during her seven-year tenure as the county attorney of Hennepin County, Klobuchar failed to bring charges against a single police officer involved in a shooting, opting to send the cases to grand juries, a process the Times notes can give preferential treatment to cops, according to law enforcement experts.
But Klobuchar is trying to distance herself from her record, regretting her previous decisions:
On Friday, Ms. Klobuchar said that grand juries were used “in every jurisdiction across our state,” and that she now regretted those decisions.
“I think that was wrong now,” she said in an interview on MSNBC. “I think it would have been much better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself.”
On Friday, Ms. Klobuchar brushed off questions about whether she should withdraw her name from consideration, saying it was “Joe Biden’s decision,” while vigorously defending her record as a prosecutor, pointing to downward trends in African-American incarceration rates.
This isn’t the first time Klobuchar’s prosecutorial record has derailed her. In February, Klobuchar was grilled over her office’s handling of Myon Burrell, a black teenager who was convicted of killing an 11-year-old girl in 2002. Burrell was sentenced to life in prison, but an Associated Press report from January explains that the case that put him there was built on a mountain of shoddy evidence. Protesters demanding justice for Burrell stormed a Klobuchar campaign event in March; instead of speaking with the activists who organized the protest, the Klobuchar camp decided to cancel the event entirely.
Minneapolis’s police department has been accused of racism for decades, a grim reality in a state that suffers from some of the most extreme racial disparities in the nation. That Klobuchar exacerbated some of these injustices as a prosecutor from 1999 to 2007 is undeniable. Which makes Klobuchar’s clumsy wading into the Floyd tragedy... well, clumsy. On Tuesday, she alluded to Floyd’s death in a tweet but didn’t bother mentioning him by name, which was cringe-worthy enough. Now, she’s trying to overcompensate for her flub, and really laying it on thick.
Look, Klobuchar is trying to salvage her VP ambitions, and it’s great that she owned up to being in the wrong way back when, but maybe—maybe—she should just sit this one out.
President Trump delivered a last-minute press conference in the White House Rose Garden, and no, it wasn’t to discuss the carnage in Minneapolis or even to double down on the nauseating “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet he shot off early Friday morning.
Instead, the impromptu meeting was to a vehicle to talk about China, specifically issues with trade, intellectual property and Hong Kong’s autonomy. Trump also announced that the United States will end its relationship with the World Health Organization as the covid-19 pandemic continues to its merciless tear across the country.
Trump took no questions as his 10-minute speech concluded, to the chagrin of the journalists present:
- Trump is hosting a couple of in-person fundraisers in June, which will allegedly have extensive covid-19 testing for each attendee. What could go wrong? [Politico]
- Customs and Border Patrol are surveilling Minneapolis—and, let’s be real, the protestors—via drone. [Vice]
- President Obama said a lil’ somethin’ about George Floyd.
- And Melania Trump offered her useless opinion on the Floyd matter as well:
- The families of George Floyd, Breonna Tayler, and Ahmaud Arbery are ready to take their grievances to Congress. [NBC News]