Protesters advocating for release of Myon Burrell close down Klobuchar campaign rally
Dozens of protesters advocating for the release of Myon Burrell took over the stage at a campaign rally for Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Sunday in St. Louis Park, and the campaign called off the event after a more than 40-minute delay.
The protests started outside the event around 7:30 p.m. As the doors opened to let people inside the St. Louis Park High School auditorium, hundreds of Klobuchar supporters were joined by dozens of protesters, who quickly took the stage.
The group held signs and repeated chants such as "Free Myon" and "Black lives matter." In the moments before the event was called off, the crowd of Klobuchar supporters responded to the protesters with chants of "Amy! Amy! Amy!"
Justin Buoen, Klobuchar's campaign manager, said there was an agreement with the protest organizers to meet with the Minnesota senator on site and that Klobuchar was in the room ready to meet with them.
The activists then changed the terms and refused the meetings, Buoen said. The rally was scheduled to start at 8 p.m., but the campaign decided to cancel the event after protesters wouldn't leave the stage nearly an hour later.
The rally in Klobuchar's home state was supposed to be the cap on a weekend in which she visited 11 different states to get out the vote ahead of Super Tuesday. Instead, the campaign — and supporters — were left frustrated.
"I am very disappointed about what happened tonight," Buoen said.
Supporter Susan Ericksen said she was disappointed she didn't get to hear Klobuchar speak.
"I very much believe in free speech but I think there is a time and place they had plenty of time to make their positions known," she said.
The activists claim Burrell was wrongly convicted of murder when Klobuchar was the Hennepin County Attorney.
In 2002, 16-year-old Burrell was convicted of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards. He was then sentenced to life in prison.
Newly uncovered evidence and inconsistencies in the case have spurred activists to call for Burrell's release and for Klobuchar to suspend her campaign.
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An investigation found that there was no gun, no DNA or fingerprints in the case, and the conviction revolved around Burrell's conflicting accounts of the shooting. Informants who were witnesses in the case have since said they were coached in their testimony and have since recanted.
Burrell, who is now 33, maintains he is not guilty of the crime.
Klobuchar has cited the Burrell case to back up her tough-on-crime record as a prosecutor, most recently in a Democratic debate in fall 2019. She also used it during her 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate.
Amid the new revelations, Klobuchar's campaign said any new evidence in the case should be reviewed.
"Senator Klobuchar has advocated for reforms to our criminal justice system over the years, including during her time as Hennepin County Attorney. If there is new evidence in this case, it should be immediately reviewed by the court," a campaign spokesperson told KSTP.