MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Representative John Thompson, a Democrat who recently falsely accused a police officer of racial profiling, is “taking some time” to reconsider his future with the Minnesota House of Representatives.
His reconsideration follows the traffic stop, his residency in the state in which he serves in question, a guilty verdict for a disturbance at a hospital in 2019, and the uncovering of domestic violence allegations.
Governor Walz and other politicians have called for Thompsons resignation, to which Thompson replied, “Who I fight for are people who look just like me. “Sometimes there are legal ramifications behind that. I’m going to fight for people who look just like me and people who don’t have a voice.
“I ask you with a little bit of respect for me and my family to let us have a few days and we’ll make a decision, and we’ll get back to you guys on that.”
This week, Hennepin County Court found Thompson guilty of a misdemeanor of obstruction for resisting Robbinsdale police at North Memorial Hospital when they attempted to place him in handcuffs following a disturbance.
Following the verdict, Thompson claimed he was found guilty only because of his race. “African American men are treated like criminals,” Thompson said. “I’m not a criminal.”
The disturbance was because, according to Thompson, his family was shown “disrespect” at the hospital, which he said wouldn’t have happened if his family were white.
Thompson also said the hospital was showing “white fragility” for calling the police in the first place.
On July 4 around 1:18 am, a St. Paul police officer pulled Thompson over for an alleged missing front license plate, and, according to the recently release body cam footage, because Thompson allegedly “took off like a bat out of hell.” Thompson quickly announces to the officer that he’s a state representative, but the officer points out that he has a Wisconsin Driver’s License.
“Yeah,” Thompson said on the video, “I have a Wisconsin license. I’m State Representative John Thompson.”
The officer told Thompson that his license is suspended in Minnesota. Thompson got visibly irritated and asked again why he was pulled over. The officer explained his reasoning again, to which Thompson replied, “I’m too old to take off from the police. Man, you profiled me because you looked me dead in the face and I got a ticket for driving while black. You pulled me over ’cause you saw a black face in this car brother…What you doin is wrong to black men, and you need to stop that. Thank you so much, but this ticket means nothing to me…what I’m saying is stop racially profiling black men in they cars, sir.”
The representative continued to accuse the officer of racially profiling on the video as the officer walked back to his car.
Following the stop, Thompson spoke out during a rally, saying that “other black Minnesotans” haven’t made it out of similar situations with police alive, which seems to imply that white police officers have shot and killed black people for “driving while black.”
“We’re still getting ‘driving while Black’ tickets in this state and in fact in St. Paul,” Thompson said. “So let’s just call it what it is, right…I shouldn’t have to be profiled, so this is ridiculous. Oh, and by the way, it was a sergeant here in St. Paul by the way. We promote bad behavior.”
However, after review of the footage and all circumstances, St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell stood by his officer, saying the stop was “by the books,” and asking for an apology from Thompson.
The Chief said, “These aren’t accusations I take lightly, so I looked into the traffic stop, watched the body worn camera footage and spoke to the sergeant. This stop, made at about 1:20 in the morning, had absolutely nothing to do with the driver’s race.
“Simply put, the traffic stop was by the books. What happened afterwards was anything but, I’m dismayed and disappointed by the state representative’s response to the stop. Rather than taking responsibility for his own decisions and actions, he attempted to deflect, cast aspersions and deny any wrongdoing.
“The driver, an elected official who does not dispute driving without a front license plate, owes our sergeant an apology.”
Interestingly, Thompson declined to give the St. Paul Police Department permission to release the body cam footage of the stop initially. This led to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association speaking out.
“Rep. Thompson’s signature issue at the state legislature was advocating for rapid release of police officer’s body camera footage,” MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said. “Now he’s blocking the public release of body camera footage of his own incident with law enforcement this past week. As a public official, it’s hypocritical and irresponsible. Constituents have the right to see how their legislator conducted himself, particularly when he made such strong claims about what happened during the traffic stop.”
Thompson then allowed the release, but has not apologized for the incident. In allowing the release, he issued a press release which read in part, “There have been calls to release the bodycam footage from my stop, which I want to make clear I fully support. It is within the power of the St. Paul Police to release that footage, and I am not a barrier to that. In the video, you won’t see the officer do anything that isn’t by the book, but the issue is we need to rewrite the book. I do not know the officer who pulled me over, and I have no reason to believe they have any hate towards me specifically. Officers do, however, work in a system that has allowed these too often pretextual traffic stops to continue despite tragic consequences.”
He also made a comment on his Facebook page, saying in colorful language that he knows he has a target on his back, but “slander” won’t work on him. He does not say whom he’s accusing of slander.
A Wisconsin Department of Public Safety spokesman confirmed that Thompson has had a Wisconsin driver’s license since 2000, and the last time he renewed it was November of 2020 (which is the month he was elected in Minnesota). Records show that Thompson does not have, nor has he ever had, a Minnesota license.
Thompson’s Wisconsin license was suspended for failing to pay child support.
Thompson stated he kept the Wisconsin license because he was “considering moving back.” However, this raised the issue of whether he actually lives in the district he represents, which is a requirement to be a representative. The home address listed on his website is a St. Paul post office box.
Senator Mary Kiffmeyer sent a letter to the Secretary of State, Steve Simon, to inquire of the process of verifying Thompson’s residency. However, Simon said he has to receive a citizen request to determine his residency as sworn on his affidavit for candidacy is correct, which his office never has. The representative has not verified his residency as of this writing.
Following the traffic stop and his subsequent accusations of the sergeant, police documents were uncovered in Wisconsin which show four incidents of alleged domestic violence, where Thompson is listed as the aggressor, between the years of 2003 and 2010. The accusations include incidents taking place in front of children.
According to police, he was never convicted of any of the higher charges due to the victim, his girlfriend at the time, being homeless and refusing to cooperate. The charges were reduced to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. More information on the incidents and outcomes can be read by clicking HERE.
This piece was written by Leah Anaya on July 22, 2021. It originally appeared in ThinBlueLineTV.com and is used by permission.
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