The ACLU of Minnesota has called on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to investigate the case of Myon Burrell and vacate his conviction. Burrell was sentenced to life in prison as a 16-year-old while Sen. Amy Klobuchar was serving as Hennepin County Attorney.
The ACLU said it is “deeply troubled by the serious flaws, lack of evidence and glaring inconsistencies involved in the policing and prosecution” of Burrell.
The Associated Press recently released a year-long investigation into Burrell’s case and “uncovered new evidence and myriad inconsistencies” in Klobuchar’s prosecution.
“There was no gun, fingerprints, or DNA. Alibis were never seriously pursued. Key evidence has gone missing or was never obtained, including a convenience store surveillance tape that Burrell and others say would have cleared him,” said the report.
Burrell’s co-defendants have insisted that he was not at the crime scene during the time of the murder and one has even claimed that he pulled the trigger. The report further revealed that police officers offered cash to potential witnesses and relied on testimony from “jailhouse informants” who received reduced sentences.
“Myon Burrell has spent his entire adult life behind bars for a crime it appears he likely did not commit, and that’s a gross miscarriage of justice,” ACLU of Minnesota Executive Director John Gordon said in a statement. “Not only was there no physical evidence tying him to the scene, the AP investigation shows officials made no real attempt to investigate Burrell’s alibi, or to listen to co-defendants who said Burrell wasn’t even there. One of those co-defendants has repeatedly claimed he himself committed the shooting. Instead, officials sought out jail informants, who got reduced time out of the deal, and informants they paid.”
Activists with the NAACP and Black Lives Matter called on Klobuchar to suspend her presidential campaign in response to the report.
Klobuchar said during a recent Fox News interview that “if there is new evidence it must come forward.”
“It must come forward and it must be considered immediately by the court,” she said and claimed she “didn’t know about this new evidence” contained in the Associated Press report.
“Burrell’s case provides a clear and disappointing example of what happens when officials settle on someone as a suspect, and – at best – ignore all conflicting evidence and clear alibis,” Gordon added. “This happens all too often to Black and Brown people at every stage of our criminal justice system, leading to staggering disparities that do not serve true justice.”
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