MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – An outspoken Black Minnesota lawmaker accused a St. Paul police officer of racially profiling him during a traffic stop accusing him of driving with a suspended Wisconsin license, a body camera video released Tuesday shows.
The police video shows a sergeant stopping St. Paul Democratic Rep. John Thompson in downtown St. Paul early July 4th. Thomson said he was the state representative for the region even though he presented a Wisconsin license.
Since the St. Paul Pioneer Press first reported the incident late last week, questions have remained as to why the former Wisconsin legislature still had a license there in his first term and whether he really lives in his district. Thomson said in a statement Monday night that he has lived in St. Paul for many years and will switch to a Minnesota license, admitting that he should have done so sooner.
The Department of Public Safety has said Thompson never had a Minnesota driver’s license and that his Minnesota driving privileges were suspended because of a child support issue that was resolved last week.
The video shows the sergeant driving Thomson’s driver’s license and then telling him that he was stopped because he quickly picked up at a traffic light and didn’t have a front license plate. He said his patrol car computer showed that Thompson’s license had been suspended and that if the information was incorrect, he should discuss it with the Department of Public Safety.
Thomson denied that it started too quickly in the light.
“I’m too old to run away from the police, man,” Thompson is seen and said. “You profiled me because you looked me in the face and I got a ticket while Black. You attracted me because you saw a black face in that car, brother. In no case will I leave with you behind me. “
The white officer denied profiling Thompson who did not purchase it. the video shows. The video begins after Sergeant Thompson has already dressed and does not show whether the officer saw whether Thompson was black.
“I say what you do is wrong for black men. And you have to stop doing that. Thank you very much, but this ticket means nothing to me, ”Thompson said sarcastically.
Thompson became an activist after his friend Philando Castile was killed by a local police officer at a traffic stop in 2016. As a legislator, he has advocated a ban on willful stops for minor offenses and other measures of police accountability. In his statement on Monday evening, he described last week’s incident as yet another supposed stop by a black man that led to the April shooting by Castile police and Daunte Wright five years ago.
“It has been shown that purported stops not only do little to stop serious crimes, they also target non-whites disproportionately,” Thompson said. “This was the racial profiling I spoke to and I was working on getting rid of those kind of stops long before this summer.”
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell has asked Thompson to apologize to the sergeant for accusing him of profiling.
Democratic House spokeswoman Melissa Hortman of Brooklyn Park said in a statement Tuesday that no lawmaker has filed an ethics complaint against Thompson, but that she “would work with an attorney to thoroughly investigate the law and the facts and.” Compare the alleged wrongdoing with previous allegations ”. the misconduct of members of Minnesota House and the resulting consequences, and act accordingly.
Thompson did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press on Tuesday. But in his statement on Monday evening, he said he supported the release of the video and hoped the incident fueled conversations that lead to change.
“I have been able to stay away from this interaction while other Black Minnesotans in very similar situations have not,” he said. “The desire to be treated with respect and to be able to escape this interaction safely was the reason why I informed the officers during our conversation that I was a state representative. Too many Minnesotans face such barriers without a respectable title in front of their name. “
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