UpdatedDan K ·
Political Wire, where I found the story this morning, has modified it slightly, saying that “An earlier version of this post linked to a source that may not be credible, although the reporting is similar.” That is the version I had used to build this story. Political Wire now cites The Week:
Before she became a senator and a top contender for former Vice President Joe Biden's vice presidential spot, Klobuchar spent eight years as the Hennepin County attorney, in charge of prosecution for Minneapolis. And while in that position, Klobuchar declined to prosecute multiple police officers cited for excessive force, and did not prosecute the officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck as he protested, The Guardian reports.
The story also makes a point mentioned in the comments:
Klobuchar did not prosecute Chauvin and other officers involved in the first death, which occurred in October 2006 while she was running for Senate. The case was under investigation when Klobuchar took office in the Senate in January 2007, and later went to a grand jury, which declined to charge the officers.
Klobuchar could have brought charges without going to the grand jury, but didn’t. From today's Star-Tribune:
Klobuchar did not criminally charge other police involved in the more than two dozen officer-involved fatalities that occurred during her time as prosecutor. She left those decisions to a grand jury, a practice that was common at the time.
Her lack of action is therefore not as negligent as I originally saw it. But it became a sore point during her campaign for the nomination, and remains one now — especially given her Tuesday statement, which was, under the circumstances, too weak.
My point remains, therefore, that Klobuchar, whatever her intentions or actions, remains a toxic choice, not just because of her past actions, but because of her apparent inability to learn from the reaction to them.
If she were otherwise the best choice, then I would say find a way to fix this and hope it works. But there are better choices, Warren and Harris among them. If the Midwest is that much of a concern, Gov. Whitmer is a good one. And so on.
———————–— Original Story ————————————
So Joe Biden has put Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) on his VP short list and asked her to submit to the vetting process. If that process doesn’t uncover this story, it’s worthless:
That cop is Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for at least 8 minutes, including at least one minute after he has passed out and could not possibly be a threat. Photos show Chauvin with his hand in his pocket like this was a casual act for him — which it probably was. Turns out Chauvin has killed before. This PDF from 2018 cites Chauvin twice as having killed a civilian; also see this current story from the Star-Tribune: What we know about Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao, two of the officers caught on tape in the death of George Floyd
Chauvin, 44, is a 19-year department veteran. Department records and news accounts show that he has been involved in several police-involved shootings over his career.
One of those incidents was in 2006, when Amy Klobuchar was the chief prosecutor for the county [corrected]. As MPN News (the link is above) reports in their story about the Floyd murder:
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who Joe Biden recently asked to undergo vetting to be his running mate for November, issued a very tepid statement about the incident, describing the police killing of an unarmed black man over an alleged forged check as merely an “officer involved death,” – a copaganda word often used by police as a euphemism for “murder.”
Klobuchar also called for a “complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable.” However, this is unlikely to occur, in no small part because of Klobuchar herself and the precedent she set while serving as the state’s chief prosecutor between 1999 and 2007. In that time, she declined to bring charges against more than two dozen officers who had killed citizens while on duty – including against Chauvin himself, who shot and killed Wayne Reyes in 2006 and would later go on to shoot more civilians while in uniform. [emphasis added]
Klobuchar has been called out for her actions as chief prosecutor before. But this latest story has to make absolute poison. No way can Biden pick her now. Nor put her in his cabinet.