According to St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, DFL Rep. John Thompson used his position as an elected official to “intimidate and harass” police officers who stopped his daughter during a traffic check.
An officer suspected a 26-year-old woman of driving while intoxicated in St. Paul early Sunday evening, according to a police summary report, and pulled her over. According to the police report of what transpired, she refused to comply, and the officer sought backup. She allegedly refused to take a sobriety test when cops demanded it.
Thompson came in a different automobile later and began “yelling” at authorities, claiming that the driver was his daughter. According to authorities, he offered investigators his business cards, which showed he was an elected politician.
“As the van’s driver proceeded to ignore cops and make a video call,” the report added, “Thompson continued to rant and scream in an agitated manner — and mentioned his elected status multiple times.”
Thompson did not reply to phone and email messages seeking comment on Monday.
According to the complaint, officers allowed the woman go home with her father rather than taking her into custody for failing to perform the sobriety test. The case was forwarded to the city attorney for consideration of charges.
In a Facebook post, Chief Axtell denounced the event, characterizing it as one that “got ugly fast.” He stated the driver’s license had been suspended and the car’s tabs had expired two years earlier.
“It’s an absolute shame,” Axtell said, “that an elected official would try 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, and that John Thompson is still serving in the Legislature.”
Thompson was pulled over by a St. Paul Police sergeant on July 4 for not having a front license plate, and he claimed racial profiling. Thompson eventually apologized, and he was charged with driving while his license was suspended.
Officers inquired about his residence after seeing his Wisconsin driver’s license. Domestic abuse charges arose later, prompting calls for Thompson’s resignation, which he rejects.
The DFL caucus in the House decided to expel him. According to Axios, he currently serves in the legislature as an independent, but he sought and eventually lost the DFL support in his re-election effort.
According to Axtell, state law prevents the publication of body camera footage in this case without Thompson’s or his daughter’s agreement.