Updated May 30, 2020; 10:15 a.m.: The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office released a statement surrounding accusations that Sen. Amy Klobuchar didn’t prosecute an earlier case involving former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, who has since been fired and charged with murder as a result of the killing of George Floyd.
Klobuchar, who has been taken to task for not prosecuting any officer-involved fatality during her tenure, had faced increasing scrutiny amid the death of Floyd at the hands of police, and reports started circulating that she once did not prosecute Chauvin who was involved in another 2006 officer-involved fatality.
However, according to New York Times reporter Nick Corasaniti, the Hennepin County attorney’s office said that Klobuchar was never involved.
“Sen. Klobuchar’s last day in the office here was December 31 2006, and she had no involvement in the prosecution of this case at all,” the office said in a statement.
Klobuchar also appeared on MNSBC, calling the accusations a “lie.”
“This idea that I somehow declined a case…against this officer is absolutely false. It is a lie,” she said. “I don’t know what else to say about it then it is a lie.”
“That investigation continued into a time when I was already sworn into the US Senate,” Klobuchar added. “I never declined the case. It was handled and sent to the grand jury by my successor.”
Klobuchar also acknowledged the other cases involving officers that never faced charges during her tenure, saying that she now believes letting the grand jury deal with the cases “was wrong.”
“Back when I was the county attorney, the cases that we had involving officer involving [sic] shootings went to a grand jury. That was true in every jurisdiction across our state and that was true in many jurisdictions across the country,” she said, adding that it would have been much better if she had looked at the cases and made the decision herself. “I think that was wrong now.”
However, the senator insisted that the cases were never blown off.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the accuracies of Klobuchar’s role in the 2006 case involving Derek Chauvin.
Earlier: Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is currently being vetted as a potential candidate to be Joe Biden’s vice president in the 2020 elections, is facing increased scrutiny in the anger and frustration over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
As the Star Tribune notes, Klobuchar was once a Hennepin County prosecutor, where her record is questionable at best. She refused to criminally charge officers involved in fatalities throughout her tenure, leaving the decision to a grand jury, which the Tribune notes, was a common practice at the time.
However, one of those officers who also slipped through her own scrutiny as a prosecutor was Derek Chauvin, the officer who was involved in Floyd’s death.
According to the report, Chauvin was one of six officers who shot at Wayne Reyes in 2006, ultimately killing him. Reyes reportedly aimed a shotgun at officers after stabbing his friend and his girlfriend.
The shooting occurred during Klobuchar’s tenure at the office, however, the officers, including Chauvin, were never prosecuted and the case never went before a grand jury until after she became a senator.
“We need to close the enthusiasm gap that Biden currently faces. We need to have a VP pick that expands the capacity of the campaign to reach these key audiences. Black women are key. Brown women are key. And Klobuchar does not do that,” Aimee Allison, the president of She the People, told the news site.
This is not the first time that Klobuchar’s history as a prosecutor has come up, given that she was, at one point, a fixture in the 2020 Democratic lineup for president.
The View cohost Sunny Hostin has called Klobuchar out for her failure to prosecute a single officer who was involved in the death of someone. Hostin also brought up the fact that she sentenced Myon Burrell to life in prison as a teen in the murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. No gun was ever recovered, and there was no DNA evidence in that case. Burrell has long maintained his innocence, and another individual confessed to the crime.
Floyd’s death has once again highlighted her questionable past in these matters, and ignited calls for her to shut down any talk about her being vice president.