ST. PAUL, Minn. — Chief Todd Axtell of the St. Paul Police Department previously demanded an apology from Rep. John Thompson (D-MN), after Thompson reportedly made a false accusation against a sergeant at his police department, Law Officer reported. Now the police agency has released bodycam footage taken during the traffic stop to refute Thompson’s claims of racism.
“Why in such a hurry?” a sergeant asks Thompson in the video filmed July 4 and released Tuesday by the St. Paul Police Department, bringmethenews.com reported.
“I don’t think I took off like a bat out of hell, I just drove off,” Thompson replies.
The sergeant asks for proof of insurance. Thompson says it is on his phone and notes that he is a Minnesota state representative in the district. As a result, the sergeant inquires about his Wisconsin driver’s license and then returns to his police unit for roughly 14 minutes.
“You’re suspended in Minnesota,” the sergeant says upon re-engaging Thompson.
The state legislator shakes his head no, prompting the sergeant to say, “That’s what the computer says. If it’s wrong, you’ll have to deal with DVS [the Department of Vehicle Services].”
Thompson then asks why he was pulled over, Fox News reported. The officer said it was due to his car having “No front plate, and the way you took off from the light back there.”
“I’m too old to run from the police, man,” Thompson says. “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…”
The sergeant notifies the state representative that the interaction is being recorded on a bodycam.
“I know. But what I’m saying is, what you’re doing is wrong, to black men,” he declares. “And you need to stop that. Thank you so much, but this ticket means nothing to me … What I’m saying to you is stop racially profiling black men in their cars sir. Stop doing that.”
The sergeant affirms he was not racially profiling Thompson, and eventually tells him to have a good night and walks away.
The bodycam footage lacks audio for the first 30 seconds during the exchange between Thompson and the sergeant, and also does not include the lead-up to the traffic stop.
According to records, Thompson does not possess a Minnesota driver’s license and has never had a driver’s license issued by The North Star State, CBS Minnesota reported.
Consequently, the politician was ultimately cited for driving with a suspended Wisconsin license.
The news outlet learned his license was revoked on April 21, 2019 for his failure to pay child support in Ramsey County.
The bodycam footage was released after Chief Axtell demanded an apology from Thompson for accusing the sergeant of racially profiling him.
“These aren’t accusations I take lightly, so I looked into the traffic stop, watched the body worn camera footage and spoke to the sergeant,” Axtell wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. “This stop, made at about 1:20 in the morning, had absolutely nothing to do with the driver’s race.”
“Simply put, the traffic stop was by the books,” Axtell continued. “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.”
“The driver, an elected official who does not dispute driving without a front license plate, owes our sergeant an apology.”
Thompson has not issued an apology but supported the release of the bodycam footage, KTSP reported.
Moreover, he posted a message on Facebook Sunday, which said, “I know why I have a (target) on my back. But just know slander wont (sic) work either!!! Im (sic) not going to stop applying pressure!!”
Meanwhile, the Democratic state representative is facing controversy over his residency, as the address listed on his July 4 citation is for a St. Paul address that is not in his district, according to CBS Minnesota.
KARE 11 REPORTS ON THE DRIVER’S LICENSE CONFLICT
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association also sent a letter to the Wisconsin attorney general asking for an investigation. In the correspondence, they say Thompson had either “defrauded the state of Wisconsin” or defrauded his Minnesota “constituents.”
Video of the hostile event showed Thompson angrily shouting choice words into a microphone at neighbors who support police. Some of the clips also showed children nearby.
“Come on over here with your ‘Blue Lives Matter’ sign. Blue lives ain’t sh**, and if people in Hugo don’t support black people, f*** Hugo,” Thompson could be heard saying.