Move over, Kamala — there’s a new bad sheriff in town. After the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minnesota police officer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s prosecutorial record is finally coming under serious scrutiny.
While Harris copped a fair share of criticism during the Democratic primary for her stint locking up African Americans, Klobuchar managed to evade a similar onslaught. But now, with Minnesota in flames and her hat in the Veep ring, people are paying attention: in 2006, during her tenure as Hennepin County attorney, Klobuchar failed to criminally charge Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with killing George Floyd.
The Minnesota Star-Tribune reports:
‘Chauvin was one of six officers who fired on and killed Wayne Reyes in 2006 after Reyes reportedly aimed a shotgun at police after stabbing his friend and girlfriend. While the death happened during Klobuchar’s tenure at the helm of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the case did not go to a grand jury until after she left the office and became a senator.’
‘Anyone with an ounce of humanity is outraged by George Floyd’s killing in the hands of police,’ Klobuchar tweeted on Thursday. ‘The case cries out for action, charges & justice.’
‘You’re complicit,’ the top reply reads.
As Joe Biden kicked off the Bachelor-esque auditioning process for his vice-presidential pick, Klobuchar had been touted as the ‘best‘ and ‘most logical‘ pick. After all, the Minnesota senator could help lock up a key Midwestern state, and as the South Carolina primary proved, the black vote was already with Biden. That’s definitely not the case now.
Biden’s car-crash ‘you ain’t black’ quip with Charlamagne Tha God last week had put him on thin ice with African American voters. It led to more calls for a VP nominee who isn’t white. Toss that into the mix with Klobuchar’s failure to gain traction with non-white voters in the primary, and her record as county attorney, and it’s impossible to see her way forward as a VP option. The case for Klobuchar always hinged on her being viewed neutrally by the African American community; now they’ll almost certainly look on her negatively.
If law, order and race remain hot-button issues for the course of Biden’s vetting process, that could spell trouble for some other potential picks too. Kamala Harris’s stint as California attorney general was a huge stumbling block for her in the Democratic primary and will likely prove so again here. Rep. Val Demings, a lesser-mentioned option, served as Orlando’s first female police chief, and faced a series of excessive-force complaints during her tenure.
Biden’s choices are thinning out. Nevada senator Catherine Cortez-Masto ruled herself out on Thursday. Gretchen Whitmer is still trying to unmoor herself from the controversy around her husband’s attempted boat hire. The Atlantic characterizes former national security adviser Susan Rice as ‘the VP choice everyone is missing’. His vetting team are pulled in three different directions: by the shrill Twittersphere; by the DNC and mainstream media Democrats, and by what swing-state voters actually want. It’s an unenviable challenge for Team Biden. But as Minneapolis smolders, one thing should be certain: their binder on Amy Klobuchar has been flung out.