Newly released body camera footage shows DFL Rep. John Thompson berating a St. Paul police officer who pulled him over.
Thompson was stopped for driving without a front license plate in the predawn hours of July 4. He later told a crowd gathered at a rally that the stop was initiated as a result of the police officer’s racial bias. Since making this accusation, new details have emerged showing that Thompson does not have a Minnesota driver’s license, seems to maintain residency in Wisconsin (where he does have a license) and was barred from driving in Minnesota at the time of his stop.
“To receive a driver’s license in Wisconsin, one must show proof of Wisconsin address, and their name/Wisconsin address must be on file with USPS in order to receive the license in the mail,” the Wisconsin Department of Transportation told Alpha News in an email.
Now, the St. Paul police have released footage of the incident that shows the officer on the receiving end of the state representative’s racism accusations.
“Why’d you pull me over?” Thompson can be seen asking in the video after the officer hands him a citation.
“No front plate and the way you took off from me,” the officer is heard responding.
Apparently not satisfied with these reasons, Thompson first stated that he’s too old to run from the police and then explained why he thinks he was stopped: “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.”
“What I’m sayin’ is what you doin’ is wrong to black men and you need to stop that, thank you so much,” he continued.
When the officer attempted to protest, Thompson cut him off, saying, “it make no difference, you pulled me over because you were profiling me.”
Before accusing the cop of racism, Thompson seemingly tried to use his status as a lawmaker to benefit his situation. “I’m actually the state representative in this district right here, man, if that makes any difference,” he said when the officer first approached his car.
“With a Wisconsin license?” the officer responded, sounding incredulous.
This incredulity is not unwarranted. Thompson’s fellow lawmakers are also confused by his driver’s license, as Wisconsin only issues licenses to Wisconsin residents, and Thompson renewed this license the same month he was elected to the State Legislature.
If Thompson misrepresented himself as a Wisconsin resident in order to renew his driver’s license, he would have committed perjury. If he is indeed a resident of Wisconsin, he should be prohibited from serving as a Minnesota lawmaker.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association sent a letter to the Wisconsin attorney general asking for Thompson’s license to be investigated. Meanwhile, Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer asked Minnesota’s secretary of state if there’s a plan to confirm that Thompson is a Minnesotan.
Secretary Steve Simon, a Democrat, says he’s not responsible for conducting this investigation, instead pointing to the Ramsey County attorney who in turn said this duty falls to the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, per reporter Tom Hauser.
None of Thompson’s fellow members of the House have filed ethics complaints against him yet, Speaker Melissa Hortman said in a press release. He is, however, facing an ethics complaint stemming from a separate incident.