State Rep. John Thompson was hit with an ethics complaint for his “destructive” behavior in the Minnesota House amid mounting questions about his place of residence.
Thompson is embroiled in a controversy stemming from a July 4 traffic stop in which he presented a Wisconsin driver’s license to the responding officer. Questions have since been raised about whether Thompson actually resides in the district he was elected to represent, or if he lied to Wisconsin authorities when he renewed his Wisconsin license in November 2020 — the same month he was elected to the Minnesota House.
He accused the officer who pulled him over of racial profiling, prompting a public rebuke from his own party, the St. Paul police chief, and several calls to release the body-camera footage from the incident. Thompson said he supports the release of the video in a statement Monday night.
“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,” Thompson said.
“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 added.
Thompson said he previously lived in Wisconsin and considered moving back there to care for a family member, “who will now be coming to live here.”
“I live and work in St. Paul, and have for many years. My Wisconsin license hadn’t previously posed an issue for me, but I will now be changing it to a Minnesota license, as I should have before,” he said.
New residents are required to apply for a license within 60 days of moving to Minnesota.
‘I know you’re a racist’
Now, Rep. Eric Lucero, a Republican, has announced that he filed an ethics complaint against Thompson late last month. According to the Republican, Thompson “falsely and maliciously” accused Lucero of being a racist in the middle of a House floor session — while Lucero was speaking.
Thompson was ruled out of order but continued to interrupt Lucero, who referenced Thompson’s behavior last summer in Hugo, Minnesota.
“I know you’re a racist,” Thompson twice told Lucero.
“Rep. Thompson’s actions directed at a sitting Member on the floor of the House of Representatives bring absolute dishonor and disrepute to this body. Rep. Thompson’s comments were destructive to the integrity of the body and its adopted code of conduct. They further, and most importantly, served to impugn Rep. Lucero’s character,” states the June 29 ethics complaint, signed by five of Lucero’s Republican colleagues.
“Such direct attempts by one Member to bully and intimidate another on the House floor cannot be tolerated; such undermining of the rules of legislative process must not stand,” it adds.
The complaint describes Thompson’s actions as a “slanderous outburst” and violation of the House’s Code of Conduct Policy.
Lucero called Thompson’s comments “shockingly racist, bigoted and narrow-minded,” given Lucero’s own Hispanic background and his wife’s East Indian heritage.
“Rep. John Thompson has an established pattern [of] denigrating others [by] repeatedly invoking racism despite overwhelming facts to the contrary,” Lucero said in a statement. “Whether in Hugo, Minnesota, on the Minnesota House Floor, or when interacting with law enforcement professionals after being pulled over for legitimate reasons, Rep. Thompson’s conduct demonstrates he is unfit for the office of public trust which he holds.”
Lucero said the complaint was referred to the House Ethics Committee where it awaits further action.