By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
Two candidates running for The White House who notoriously had issues disproportionately impacting African Americans have dropped out of the 2020 presidential race over the last few days.
Black Lives Matter activists shut down a rally on March 1 in Minnesota for then Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) over her prosecution of a black man they believe was wrongly convicted for murder.
The Black Lives Matter protesters took the stage in protest and would not leave, and the Klobuchar campaign cancelled the rally. The next day on March 2, Sen. Klobuchar dropped out of the presidential race and put her support behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
The BLM activists at Klobuchar’s rally were referring to the case of Myon Burrell. Burrell was convicted of murder as a teenager as Ms. Klobuchar served as Hennepin County attorney in Minnesota. Minnesota is a Super Tuesday state.
A recent analysis by the Associated Press reviewed the case of Myron Burrell, who is serving life in prison for the murder of an 11-year old. The news organization, “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.”
Klobuchar has avoided media interviews with black news organizations throughout her campaign. Journalist Roland Martin created a “Where’s Amy?” graphic after she refused to be interviewed on Roland Martin Unfiltered even as he spoke with all of the other Democrats in the field.
Klobuchar was the lead prosecutor in the Burrell case and, according to AP’s analysis the prosecution, “relied heavily on a teen rival of Burrell’s who gave conflicting accounts when identifying the shooter, who was largely obscured behind a wall 120 feet away. With no other eyewitnesses, police turned to multiple jailhouse snitches. Some have since recanted, saying they were coached or coerced. Others were given reduced time, raising questions about their credibility. And the lead homicide detective offered “major dollars” for names, even if it was hearsay.”
Klobuchar joined former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in dropping out and endorsing former Vice President Biden. Buttigieg’s campaign was also plagued with questions around how he handled justice reform issues in the Black community in South Bend. Lack of support from Black voters has been a defining issue in the 2020 campaign.
A third 2020 presidential candidate who has been criticized for his treatment of African Americans regarding racial profiling policies such as stop-and-frisk is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has also announced that his campaign has ended. Bloomberg joined Klobuchar and Buttigieg in endorsing Biden. However, as an author of the 1994 Clinton Crime Bill, Biden has also been questioned on justice reform issues.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at [email protected] and on twitter at @LVBurke