Growing Controversy From Traffic Stop Involving MN Lawmaker
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - A St. Paul lawmaker's claims of racial profiling by St. Paul police continue to stir up controversy.
Democrat State Representative John Thompson was pulled over by a St. Paul police officer in the early morning hours of last Sunday and later suggested he had been ticketed for "driving wall Black" during a rally on Tuesday commemorating the fifth anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile. That led to a social media post on Friday by St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, who wrote he was "dismayed and disappointed" by Thompson's allegations. Axtell indicated he had reviewed the body camera video from the incident and stated the traffic stop was "by the books.
The state lawmaker ended up being ticketed for driving on a suspended license after he was pulled over for not having a front license plate on his vehicle. Chief Axtell indicated the police Sergeant made the stop was participating in a Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety detail and requested an apology from Thompson.
That prompted media outlets in the Twin Cities and the Minnesota Peace and Police Officers Association to request the release of the body cam videos from the traffic stop. The law enforcement organization claims Johnson is preventing the public release of the recordings, which is his right under state law.
The Peace and Police Officers Association is also using the incident to question whether Thompson can legally serve in the state legislature. During the traffic stop, he reportedly produced a valid Wisconsin driver's license which had been renewed in November 2020 while Thompson was campaigning for his State House seat. A news release issued by the organization Saturday afternoon also claims the address listed for Thompson on the traffic citation issued last weekend falls outside his legislative district.
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