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Klobuchar cancels Minnesota rally as protesters take stage

Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, speaks at the Blue NC celebration at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (Joshua Komer/The Charlotte Observer via AP)
Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, speaks at the Blue NC celebration at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (Joshua Komer/The Charlotte Observer via AP) (The Charlotte Observer)

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. – Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar canceled a rally in her home state Sunday after protesters took over the stage shouting for her to drop out of the presidential race over the case of a black teen sentenced to life in prison while Klobuchar was the county's top prosecutor.

Klobuchar was scheduled to speak at St. Louis Park High School in suburban Minneapolis ahead of Tuesday's Minnesota primary, which she is fighting to win and notch her first victory. But dozens of protesters entered the gymnasium, raised signs and chanted “black lives matter” and “Myon,” a reference to Myon Burrell, who was convicted of the murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards.

An Associated Press investigation questioned Klobuchar's handling of the 2002 case, in which Burrell was sent to prison for life following a police investigation some say was flawed. Klobuchar has said if there is new information in the case it should be considered — a response that some activists have said doesn't go far enough.

Klobuchar has struggled to win support from black voters, a major problem for her campaign as she seeks the Democratic nomination. Her best finish in the first four contests was in New Hampshire, an overwhelmingly white state where she came in third. In both Nevada and South Carolina she trailed far behind the front-runners, failing to win a single delegate.

She has rejected suggestions she drop out of the race, saying she plans to compete at least through the upcoming Super Tuesday contests, when 14 states will vote and about one-third of delegates will be up for grabs.

Klobuchar has said she expects to win her state, but she's facing tough competition from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who leads in delegates overall. Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, won the Minnesota vote in 2016 over Hillary Clinton and has made a big push to win again.