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Amy Klobuchar helped jail teen for life, but case was flawed


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The New York Times
SOURCE: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/amy-klobuchar-helped-jail-teen-for-life-but-case-was-flawed
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Summary

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar sits down with Bret Baier following the debate.This story was produced in collaboration with American Public Media.MINNEAPOLIS — It was a prime-time moment for Amy Klobuchar.Standing in the glare of television lights at a Democratic presidential debate last fall, she was asked about her years as a top Minnesota prosecutor and allegations she was not committed to racial justice.“That’s not my record,” she said, staring into the camera.Yes, she was tough on crime, Klobuchar said, but the African-American community was angry about losing kids to gun violence. And Klobuchar’s office put Tyesha Edwards’ killer -- a black teen -- behind bars for life.But what if Myon Burrell is innocent?WHY THE NY TIMES, HEDGING ITS BETS, ACTUALLY FAVORS KLOBUCHAR OVER WARRENAn Associated Press investigation into the 17-year-old case uncovered new evidence and myriad inconsistencies, raising questions about whether he was railroaded by police.The AP reviewed more than a thousand pages of police records, court transcripts and interrogation tapes, and interviewed dozens of inmates, witnesses, family members, former gang leaders, lawyers and criminal justice experts. So, it’s like I’m carrying two burdens.”Asked for comment on the case, a Klobuchar campaign spokesperson said Burrell was tried and convicted of Tyesha’s murder twice, and the second trial occurred when Klobuchar was no longer the Hennepin County Attorney. If there was new evidence, she said, it should be immediately reviewed by the court.Questions about the case come at a difficult time, as Klobuchar and other presidential hopefuls, including Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg, face scrutiny for their records on racial justice in the 1990s and early 2000s.Black and brown communities were being decimated by the war on drugs, and the since-discredited “super-predator” theory prevailed, predicting that droves of poor, fatherless young men devoid of moral conscience would wreak havoc in their neighborhoods.Democrats joined Republicans in supporting harsher policing and tougher sentencing, leading to the highest incarceration rates in the nation’s history.Some politicians have tried to distance themselves from the period’s perceived excesses. “I do firmly believe that there were people convicted of crimes that they did not do.’She said that the murder Burrell went down for was problematic from the start.“In the case of Myon Burrell -- where you had a really high-profile shooting of an innocent girl and you put a lot of pressure on the system to get someone to be responsible for that -- I think a lot of corners were probably cut.”“In the case of Myon Burrell ... I have a lot of confidence in Minnesota's justice system,” she said.“Certainly, he's been through the court process, and his conviction has remained intact.”For years, many caught up in Burrell’s case have insisted police got the wrong person. Others say they told police what they wanted to hear to get deals on their own sentences or to punish a rival.Even though some have changed their stories more than once, they insist they are now telling the truth because they have nothing to gain.Burrell’s co-defendants were members of the Tyson Mob and the Vice Lords. Police later said they “made a mistake.”Well after midnight, Oliver signed a statement saying he saw Burrell standing across the street in an open lot between two houses, shooting until he emptied his weapon. He said his diminutive, 5-foot-3 rival was firing from behind a 5-foot wall, 120 feet away, but that his hooded face was still clearly recognizable.Oliver’s best friend, Antoine Williams, said when the gunfire stopped, he ran to his side.“I asked Timmy at the time, ‘Who, who did the shooting?’” Antoine Williams recalled in a recorded interview with a private investigator hired by one of Burrell’s attorneys. But the 13-year-old struggled to fit in and found himself coming back to the Twin Cities often.In 2002, the family traveled to Minneapolis to spend Thanksgiving with his grandmother.Less than 24 hours later, Tyesha was dead and police were desperate to find her killer.They decided early on it was Burrell, though he had not had any serious brushes with the law.In a video taken by police hours before his arrest, chief homicide detective Richard Zimmerman is seen talking to a man brought to the station following another shooting.

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