DFL Rep. Thompson accuses officers of racism at daughter’s traffic stop, police say
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) – Democratic state Rep. John Thompson was involved in another chaotic incident with St. Paul police officers on Sunday afternoon, minutes before taking his seat at the Capitol for the State of the State address.
The St. Paul lawmaker showed up after officers pulled over his daughter Sunday afternoon, screamed and yelled at police while making racial accusations, identified himself as a state lawmaker and handed out his business card, St. Paul police say.
“It turned ugly fast,” St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said. “It’s an absolute shame—that an elected official would attempt to intimidate and bully police officers, that he would misuse his official position, that officers doing their jobs should have to endure illegitimate claims of racism, that John Thompson is still serving in the Legislature.”
Officers say they tried to stop Thompson’s adult daughter for erratic driving and expired registration. Officers smelled marijuana coming from the van, which is registered to Thompson, they said.
As more officers arrived, so did Thompson. To diffuse tensions, police say they decided to charge Thompson’s daughter out of custody and let them both go.
Police are asking the St. Paul city attorney to charge Thompson’s daughter with 3rd degree DWI-test refusal, a gross misdemeanor. FOX 9 does not name suspects until they are formally charged. Thompson does not face charges, though police say the case is open.
“My officers were put in an incredibly difficult position and made the best decision they could at the time to de-escalate and avoid being unfairly vilified—again,” Axtell said. “It was an outrageous scene. I wish state law allowed us to release the body worn camera footage. But we can’t at this time. However, Rep. Thompson or his daughter can. And I encourage them to do so.”
State law limits the release of body camera video to certain circumstances, including to “dispel rumor or unrest,” or if the subject of the video requests its release.
Thompson made similar allegations of racism after St. Paul officers stopped him in summer 2021, ultimately finding that the lawmaker had a Wisconsin driver’s license. That led to the discovery of past domestic violence allegations made against Thompson. House Democrats removed Thompson from their caucus, though he still campaigns as a Democrat.
The incident ended at 5:31 p.m. Sunday, according to police. Thompson then came to the Capitol for Gov. Tim Walz’s 6 p.m. State of the State speech. House floor video shows the lawmaker in his seat at 5:50 p.m. and checking his phone a few minutes later.
Thompson did not show up on the House floor for Monday morning’s session, using the House’s remote voting option instead.
When FOX 9 called the phone number that Thompson used to register for the 2022 election, a woman answered and said it was the wrong number.