Law Enforcement

Minnesota Politician and Police Clash Over False Claims During Traffic Stop

Combined Shape

On July 4th, at about 1:20 a.m., a St. Paul police officer stopped a vehicle driven by a Minnesota state representative. The New York Post reports, Rep. John Thompson accused the officer, who appears to be white, of “racial profiling” and stopping and citing him for “driving while black.” Following the stop, Thompson seems to have defamed the officer by making that claim publicly.

However, after police released the video of the stop, Thompson, who opposed its release, had some explaining to do. The officer justifies the stop by telling Thompson he drove too fast from the light, and he’s missing a front license plate, which is enough on its own to stop a driver.

The officer runs a computer check on the driver and vehicle registration and finds the representative’s Minnesota license status is suspended. Thompson had given the officer a Wisconsin driver’s license. Thompson shakes his head, and the officer tells him that information was returned by the DVS, Department of Vehicle Services. The officer tells Thompson, if it’s an error, he’ll need to deal with them.

Rep. Thompson ignores any responsibility for these facts and instead accuses the officer of misconduct. “I’m too old to run from the police, man,” Thompson says. “You profiled me because you looked me dead in the face, and I got a ticket for driving while black.

“You pulled me over because you saw a black face in this car, brother. There’s no way in hell I’m taking off with you behind me. You looked in this car and busted a U-turn and got behind my car, and that’s the reason.”

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So, was the officer behind Thompson before he drove from the light, or did the officer see Thompson drive from the light, do a U-turn, and then get behind his car?

We know which because the officer tells Thompson, “it’s on camera.”

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell didn’t take Thompson’s accusations about one of his officers lightly, according to KSTP-TV. Axtell explained, “the traffic stop was by the book.” The chief continued, saying he was “dismayed and disappointed by the state representative’s response to the stop.” Axtell also lamented that Thompson didn’t take any ownership of his actions and blamed the officer.

KSTP also reported that though Minnesota State Representative “Thompson has never had a Minnesota driver’s license… his ‘driving privileges were suspended in 2019 due to unpaid child support.’”

Alphanewsmn.com reported Rep. Eric Lucero has “filed an ethics complaint against Rep. Thompson.” Lucero says Thompson “‘falsely and maliciously’ accused Lucero of being a racist, in the middle of a floor session—while Lucero was speaking.” It seems the traffic stop wasn’t the first time Thompson had gone to the racism accusation well.

Reportedly, despite being ruled out of order, Thompson continued to interrupt Lucero. Lucero also cited an incident that occurred during Thompson’s campaign, where he showed up to demonstrate outside the private home of Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll. Rather than confront Kroll, who was not home, claims say Thompson and others intimidated Kroll’s wife and scared his kids.

On the video, Thompson, who said, “I didn’t come here to be peaceful,” also shouted in the direction of some teen girls, including one who’d been wearing a “blue lives matter” shirt but retreated to a house. Both Governor Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison endorsed Thompson.

As previously mentioned, Thompson initially blocked the release of the police video of his traffic stop. This is ironic, mainly since KSTP also reported, “Rep. Thompson’s signature issue at the state legislature was advocating for rapid release of police officer’s body camera footage.”

 

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Steve Pomper is an author, freelance writer, and retired Seattle police officer. During his career, he served as a field training officer, on the Community Police Team, and as a mountain bike patrol coordinator. He’s written five books, including The Obama Gang and De-Policing America, and he is a contributor to the National Police Association and a freelance writer for The Tatum Report.

Originally from New England, he’s a Boston sports fan. He now lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. He enjoys spending time with his adult kids and three grandchildren.




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