Minnesota gov, other Dems call for embattled state lawmaker's resignation after abuse allegations surface
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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and other state Democrats called on state Rep. John Thompson to resign Saturday after past allegations of domestic abuse surfaced Friday, according to reports.
The state lawmaker was already enmeshed in several controversies involving a suspended driver’s license, his residency potentially being out of his district and a suspect claim of racial profiling he leveled against police during a traffic stop.
Johnson, who was first elected last year, has been accused of hitting and choking women – sometimes while young children were present – and of allegedly exposing himself, FOX 9 in Minneapolis reported.
“The alleged acts of violence against multiple women outlined in these reports are serious and deeply disturbing,” Walz said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune of Minneapolis. “Minnesotans deserve representatives of the highest moral character, who uphold our shared values. Rep. Thompson can no longer effectively be that leader and he should immediately resign.”
The allegations were first reported by FOX 9 on Friday night while the station was investigating Thompson’s residency, which came into question during a July 4 traffic stop during which he spuriously accused the officer of racism.
Thompson has denied the allegations to FOX 9 through an attorney. Representatives for the lawmaker did not immediately respond to Fox News’ late-night request for comment.
Thompson was arrested in 2003 for allegedly hitting his then-girlfriend in a grocery store parking lot in front of her 5-year-old daughter. He eventually pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, according to FOX 9.
A year later the same girlfriend reportedly called police, accusing him of hitting her, throwing her onto a kitchen table and choking her in front of her three children in her apartment.
She claimed he told her “I’ll choke you until you can’t breathe anymore,” FOX 9 reported. The girlfriend reportedly told police a day earlier he told her and her daughter, “I hope you both die.”
Police bodycam footage of Rep. John Thompson’s July 4 traffic stop
(City of St. Paul/Minnesota House of Representatives)
The girlfriend was taken to a shelter and it’s unclear if Thompson faced charges.
In 2009, police responded to an incident where Thompson allegedly exposed himself in front of a woman and two children during an argument. “I’m the man, you can all s—- my d—,” he allegedly said after he reportedly pulled out his penis. No charges were filed.
The next year, police were called when a woman who said she had been in a relationship with Thompson for years and had two children with him claimed he pulled out his penis and told her to “kiss the tip” during an argument in front of children and relatives. She also told police he later choked her and said, “I’ll choke you until your voice box stops.” No charges were filed.
“Mr. Thompson does deny the allegations,” his attorney, Jordan Kushner, told FOX 9. “The end results speak for themselves. We are currently focused on [Thompson’s current] trial and do not have time to dissect these police reports from 10-18 years ago.”
Kushner said he had no plans to resign as of Saturday. “It’s a shame that there’s no concern about due process,” he told the Star Tribune.
Thompson was cited in Minnesota earlier this month for allegedly driving with a Wisconsin license that was suspended in 2019 for failure to pay child support in Ramsey County, Minnesota.
Court documents related to a trial this week where he is accused of disorderly conduct were also being sent to an address outside of his St. Paul district.
Thompson alleges that he and others were unfairly treated by police at North Memorial Medical Center in November 2019 after a group gathered at the hospital for a friend who was a patient.
His claims greatly differ from what police and prosecutors contend happened, however, with police saying the hospital went on lockdown after about 50-75 people began fighting and banging on windows.
Thompson alleges that police and security guards treated Black Americans in the crowd callously, and directly called the police racist. He says an officer responded by calling him an “idiot” and arrested him for trespassing.
He is fighting the misdemeanor charge in court.
Kushner said the state representative has always lived in his district but was unaware court documents were sent to an address outside of his district. Minnesota law requires state representatives to live in their district.
Video of Thompson’s traffic stop earlier this month in which he claimed he was racially profiled was released by the St. Paul Police Department.
“I’m too old to run from the police, man,” Thompson said to the officer in the video of the July 4 stop. “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, brother. There’s no way in hell I’m taking off with you behind me. … You looked in this car and busted a U-turn and got behind my car, and that’s the reason.”
He was initially pulled over for not having a front license plate.
Thompson’s claim elicited St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell to demand an apology, saying he reviewed the bodycam footage and found it had “nothing to do with the driver’s race.”
“Simply put, the traffic stop was by the books,” Axtell said in a Facebook post. “What happened afterwards was anything but, 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.”
Thompson has not answered Axtell’s call to apologize but supported the release of the bodycam footage and noted the officer’s actions “were by the book.”
Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, a Democrat, was among those who called for his resignation.
“As a mom, advocate for children, and survivor and child witness of domestic violence, I know the deeply traumatic impact of the actions outlined in reports against Rep. Thompson,” Flanagan said in a statement. “Someone who has allegedly demonstrated this violent pattern of behavior, especially in the presence of children, is unfit to serve in elected office.”
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party House Speaker Melissa Hortman and House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler also called for his resignation in a joint statement.
“Rep. Thompson ran for office to advance progressive policies, but his recent actions, and unacceptable reports of abuse and misconduct, have become an impediment to that work,” they said, the Tribune reported.
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