Activists call for Klobuchar to suspend campaign over '03 life sentence

Follows AP investigation; Klobuchar was Hennepin Co. Attorney in Myon Burrell case

Sloane Martin
January 29, 2020 - 3:55 pm
Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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(WCCO/AP) -- Activists are calling for Sen. Amy Klobuchar to suspend her campaign following an Associated Press investigation uncovered new evidence and numerous inconsistencies in a case that sent a black teen to jail for life.

The presidential candidate oversaw the first trial of Myon Burrell, then 16, in the death of Tyesha Edwards in 2002. The 11-year-old was struck by a stray bullet in her home.

Activists say as the Hennepin County Attorney at the time, she needs to be held accountable. 

"This is not about partisanship and it's not about politics," Leslie Redmond, president of the Minneapolis NAACP, said. "This is about justice. This is about what's right and what's wrong."

Burrell's father, Michael Toussaint, said long-standing efforts to prove his son's innocence have not worked.

"Being a black man and knowing how the system works, it's not like I just learned how the system works," he said. "I grew up in the system that's corrupt."

Klobuchar's campaign told the AP that Burrell was tried and convicted twice, the second time when she had left the post.

Activists are also calling on current county attorney Mike Freeman to reexamine the case. The office provided a statement to the Star Tribune:

“If there was something presented to us — new evidence — our office will carefully review that evidence and information. As it stands, no new evidence has been presented to our office. This was tried twice, and there’s nothing new we can say beyond that.”

Edwards' stepfather tells the AP he now questions the conviction and says the girl's death may have been used for "political reasons."

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