Senator Amy Klobuchar won her seat in 2006 as a former tough prosecutor, boasting of how she had reduced crime in Minnesota’s most populous county. Amid protests over George Floyd’s death, her record is facing renewed scrutiny as she prepares to be vetted as a vice-presidential contender, the New York Times reports. With a police force in Minneapolis that has long faced accusations of racism and complaints of abuse, Klobuchar declined to charge many police officers who were involved in shootings during her seven-year tenure. She often opted to send cases to grand juries, a common practice but one that some law enforcement experts say favors police officers. On Friday, Klobuchar said she now regretted those decisions. “I think that was wrong now,” she told MSNBC. “I think it would have been much better if I took the responsibility and looked at the cases and made the decision myself.”
With Floyd’s death rekindling the national conversation about race, Klobuchar’s tenure as prosecutor could become a significant liability in the vice-presidential selection process. Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said the timing of the killing and protests was “tough” for Klobuchar. She brushed off questions about whether she should withdraw her name from consideration while defending her record, pointing to downward trends in African-American incarceration rates. She rebutted reports that she had a role in declining to bring charges against Chauvin in a 2006 case as a “lie.” Critics pointed to her long record as being friendly to police officers. During her own presidential campaign, Klobuchar faced some calls to drop out from Minneapolis black leaders after news reports found faults in the prosecution of black teenager Myon Burrell while Klobuchar was prosecutor. Burrell was convicted in the murder of an 11-year-old girl, but maintained his innocence, and one of his co-defendants admitted guilt.