Three Ramsey County police unions filed a formal complaint with the county against an officer who publicly endorsed DFL House candidate John Thompson.
“John is wonderful. John is a leader. John is somebody that speaks truth to power,” Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Roy Magnuson said of Thompson, who threatened to burn down a neighborhood during a protest in August.
Thompson’s behavior at a protest outside the home of a police officer in Hugo, Minnesota, caused the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association to rescind the endorsements of several DFL lawmakers who refused to condemn the actions of their colleague.
In a January video posted to the Thompson campaign’s Facebook page, Magnuson said Thompson has “a lot of reason to harbor a lot of anger.”
The video of the endorsement has been removed from the campaign’s Facebook page, but Magnuson “has refused to acknowledge or address the endorsement,” according to a complaint filed against him.
“Magnuson clearly intended to use the color of the Sheriff’s Office, bolstered by his official position, to influence voters and department employees to garner support for Thompson,” states the complaint, which was submitted by the Ramsey County Commanders’ Union, the Ramsey County Sergeants’ Union and the Ramsey County Deputy Sheriffs’ Union earlier this month.
According to the complaint, internal policies prohibit employees from representing the department or identifying themselves “in any way that could be reasonably perceived as representing the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office” while appearing in any video or public broadcast to endorse a political campaign.
Magnuson identified himself as a Ramsey County public information officer in the endorsement video, which displayed the department name and Magnuson’s official job title.
“Our unions condemn Thompson’s appalling and violent behavior. Further, employees felt Thompson’s actions were hateful and offensive, not only to law enforcement but, more importantly, to the public, specifically women and children,” the complaint says.
The complaint contains an enclosure with the signatures of “upwards of 60 employees, including deputies, sergeants and commanders,” who “individually signed this complaint to demonstrate their frustration with Magnuson’s endorsement of John Thompson.”
“Many of the remaining members gave us their verbal support, but out of fear of retaliation, they were unwilling to publicly denounce Magnuson’s endorsement,” it says.
Thompson was endorsed by Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota DFL Party, and is expected to easily win in the general election next week.
“We echo the sentiments of other law enforcement associations and call for those supporting Thompson to publicly withdraw their support,” the complaint concludes. “Anyone that continues to support Thompson’s candidacy cannot be considered a supporter of law enforcement, including Roy Magnuson.”