One of Minnesota’s most outspoken left-wing state representatives does not have a Minnesota ID and was recently cited for driving despite a suspension he earned after he failed to pay child support in 2019.
State Rep. John Thompson was pulled over in St. Paul early Sunday morning for failing to display a license plate on the front of his vehicle. He was then cited for driving even though his Minnesota driving privileges were reportedly suspended in 2019 after he failed to pay child support, according to KSTP. Records pertaining to that child support case are sealed and not public, reports Fox 9, but driving privileges are revoked after a parent falls more than three months behind on child support payments.
When asked by Fox 9 about his suspension, Thompson apparently attempted to defend himself by revealing that he doesn’t even have a Minnesota driver’s license to suspend. Even after living in the state for nearly 20 years and being elected to help shape its laws, Thompson maintains a Wisconsin license. Driving privileges can be suspended regardless of a person’s license state or status.
“[I had] no idea that my license was suspended because my license has been valid as long as I’ve been on this … earth,” Thompson said after the incident, per the Pioneer Press. He further maintains that he never had any outstanding child support payments.
However, KSTP recently confirmed that Thompson’s driving privileges were reinstated Wednesday after he paid the money he owed.
He also blamed the traffic stop on racism.
“He saw my black skin in my baseball cap,” Thompson told Fox 9. “He wasn’t looking at my license plate. He was looking in my face.”
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell subsequently reviewed the body-camera footage of the incident and said it was “by the books.”
“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,” Axtell said. “The driver, an elected official who does not dispute driving without a front license plate, owes our sergeant an apology.”
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell calls on State Rep. John Thompson to apologize for claiming he was pulled over because of his race. pic.twitter.com/ZTAsatZb4G
— Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) July 9, 2021
This new revelation about Thompson’s Wisconsin driver’s license may have further legal implications, according to state Rep. Jeremy Munson.
“Thompson has a Wisconsin driver’s license and is violating the law by not obtaining one where he lives. Or, if you assume he was obeying the law, his primary residence must be Wisconsin, therefore he cannot vote in MN, which disqualifies him from holding office,” Munson wrote in a recent Facebook post.
Munson also raised an eyebrow at the speed with which Thompson’s driving privileges were reinstated.
“Last I checked, when you are caught driving while your license is suspended, you must pay a fine AFTER another 60-day suspension of your privileges,” Munson observed. “Amazingly, in 24 hours, Thompson’s driving privileges were reinstated Wednesday.”
Thompson exploded onto the Minnesota political scene last summer after he encouraged a crowd to burn down the town of Hugo, home of the former Minneapolis police union president, during a rally last summer. Since that outburst, he has been elected to the State Legislature and retained the support of the Minnesota DFL, Gov. Tim Walz and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.