Governor joins calls for pro-BLM state rep. to resign over domestic violence past, other controversies

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PAUL, MN – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is joining a growing chorus of Democratic officials calling on State Representative John Thompson (D) to resign over reports of multiple domestic violence accusations following his accusation of being racially profiled by police on Independence Day.

Minnesota’s top Democratic officials are calling for Thompson’s resignation after the domestic incidents were brought to light among a string of controversies facing the new lawmaker.

Fox 9 first reported on the domestic assault allegations on Friday night while investigating a previous controversy where Thompson falsely claimed to have been racially profiled by police.

According to court records uncovered by Fox 9, four domestic assault cases spanned 2003-10 and included allegations that Thompson punched and choked women, sometimes in the presence of children.

Gov. Walz issued a statement saying the allegations have resulted in Thompson’s inability to serve the people effectively:

“The alleged acts of violence against multiple women outlined in these reports are serious and deeply disturbing.

“Minnesotans deserve representatives of the highest moral character, who uphold our shared values. Rep. Thompson can no longer effectively be that leader and he should immediately resign.”

Fox 9 reported that questions were raised about the lawmaker’s residency after he was stopped by St. Paul police on Independence Day. Thompson was pulled over for not having a front license plate on his vehicle.

During the traffic stop, Thompson presented a driver’s license with a Wisconsin address, which was renewed as recently as November, when he won the Minnesota election.

While researching for the story, Fox 9 learned that Thompson was arrested in Superior, Wisconsin in October 2003 for allegedly striking his girlfriend in the face in a supermarket parking lot.

Police reported the woman’s five-year-old daughter witnessed the assault.

According to police reports, Thompson fled the scene and resisted arrest when he was located. He pled guilty in Douglas County, Wisconsin, to disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

In another incident, police were called to an argument between Thompson and two women over a cellphone in 2009. Allegedly, Thompson exposed his genitals in front of one of the women and a child during the incident.  He was not charged in the incident.

Thompson did not respond to requests for comment, but his attorney Jordan Kushner said:

“(Thompson) maintains the allegations are false and he was never found guilty of them in a court.”

The attorney said that there was no plan for Thompson to step down from his position:

“It’s a shame that there’s no concern about due process.”

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Kushner released a statement on Sunday saying “(Thompson) challenges the authenticity of the police reports that have been circulated to the press” and that he and his wife deny the allegations.

He claimed the reports were likely circulated to the press by law enforcement groups engaged in a “smear campaign” against Thompson:

“If these police reports existed in their current form, it is unfathomable that the many people digging into Mr. Thompson’s past would not have found those police reports before the November election much less during the ensuing months. The police reports are a product of the campaign to silence an American African man who speaks out against powerful and abusive interests, and not the product of any effort to uncover truth.”

Thompson’s troubles began on July 4 during the St. Paul traffic stop when a records check by officers determined his Minnesota driving privileges were revoked.

Doug Neville, a Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman, said that his driving privileges were revoked because of a Ramsey County child support issue dating to April 2019.

Thompson denied owing child support and said he takes care of his children.

The Representative’s driving privileges were reinstated “after taking care of the child support issue.”

On June 6, Thompson discussed the traffic stop at a memorial to Philando Castile, who was Thompson’s friend and was fatally shot by a St. Anthony police officer on July 6, 2016. Castile’s death sparked Thompson’s political career as a Black Lives Matter activist.

In the comments, which he also shared on Facebook; Thompson claimed he was racially profiled by St. Paul officers:

“I’m still being profiled… Matter of fact, I was just pulled over Saturday. The old pretextual stop. ‘You don’t have a front license plate.’ And I got a ticket, for my license. Anyway, I thought we weren’t doing pretextual stops here in the state.

“But we are. You can still get driving-while-black tickets in the state — as a matter of fact, in St. Paul. Let’s just call this what it is.”

 

However, the claim has been crushed by a recently released police video of the traffic stop.

In the video, Thompson identifies himself to the St. Paul Police sergeant as a Minnesota lawmaker, despite presenting the Wisconsin driver’s license.

The Sergeant is seen running his license after telling him that he was stopped for leaving a traffic light too fast and not having a required front license plate on the vehicle. Thompson reacted to the officer when informed his license was invalid, saying:

“I’m too old to run 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 because you saw a black face in this car brother. There is no way in hell I am taking off with you behind me.”

The sergeant politely tried to explain the violation again to the Representative, but Thompson kept interrupting to claim he was stopped because he was black:

“What you is doin’ (sic) is wrong to black men. You need to stop that.

“This ticket means nothing to me. You have a great day. What I am saying is stop racially profiling black men in their cars.”

 

At no point during the traffic stop did the sergeant make any racial comments and he remained professional and polite during the entire incident, despite Thompson continuing to accuse the officer of profiling him as the officer walked away.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axel released a statement defending his officers:

“On Sunday, July 4, one of our sergeants working a traffic safety detail stopped a state representative for driving without a front license plate on his vehicle, which is unlawful in the state of Minnesota. Two days later I was shocked to hear that driver accuse the sergeant of making the stop based on race.
 
“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.”

 

The cumulating incidents and allegations were enough for Thompson’s own party. In addition to the Governor, calls for his resignation have come from Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, and state DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin.

Lt. Gov. Flanagan issued a statement Saturday stating:

“As a mom, advocate for children, and survivor and child witness of domestic violence, I know the deeply traumatic impact of the actions outlined in reports against Rep. Thompson.

“Someone who has allegedly demonstrated this violent pattern of behavior, especially in the presence of children, is unfit to serve in elected office.”

Also calling for Thompson’s resignation was U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, whose congressional district includes St. Paul.

 

 

 

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