An event featuring 12 Minnesota DFL House candidates has been called off following criticism from Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA) and Republicans.
The criticism of the fundraiser, which was scheduled for noon on Tuesday, Sept. 8, stems from House District 67A candidate John Thompson's divisive actions and remarks during a protest outside Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis President Lt. Bob Kroll's house in Hugo in mid-August.
During the protest, Thompson, of St. Paul, wore a "Bob KKKroll must go" T-shirt, beat an effigy of Kroll's wife and mentioned burning down the city (see video clip below).
Thompson did apologize for his remarks, calling them "inflammatory rhetoric" that wasn't helpful and wasn't how he wanted to address the issues, but he said he wouldn't apologize for his passion to fight injustice.
In the weeks since the Hugo protest, Republicans have called on Democrats to condemn his actions and withdraw their support for Johnson. The calls increased over Labor Day weekend when a House caucus fundraiser was announced that featured 12 candidates for House, including Johnson.
The MPPOA sent a letter to House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, which was posted to its Facebook page Monday. In the letter, MPPOA said they have a "deep frustration with the continued support shown by the DFL House Caucus to John Thompson," citing, in particular, his inclusion at Tuesday's fundraiser.
"Thompson has threatened to burn down a neighborhood and beat an effigy of a police officer's wife, a female reporter, while standing outside their home. This is violent and outrageous behavior - and not just rhetoric - specifically against a police officer and his family," the letter said.
The letter states that anyone who supports Thompson's candidacy is not a supporter of law enforcement and will not be supported by the MPPOA. The association "strongly" urges the caucus to end their support for Thompson immediately and remove him from pre-election caucus events.
The MPPOA says this isn't a partisan issue, noting it has endorsed "many" House DFL Caucus members.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, also called for the event to be canceled.
"Several Democrat candidates are scheduled to raise money with a Democrat who screamed profanities at children and threatened violence against a Minneapolis Police Officer and his wife," Daudt said in a statement. "They offered only mild criticism at the time, but are now raising money and boosting his candidacy. Democrats should cancel this fundraiser and withdraw all support for Mr. Thompson — if they don't, they're sending a message that they stand with the radical anti-police wing of their party who think it's acceptable to riot in our neighborhoods and threaten violence against law enforcement officers."
Hortman did respond to the MPPOA in a letter Monday, according to the Star Tribune and Minnesota Reformer. And by 10:30 p.m., the House DFL Caucus had announced it would be postponing Tuesday's event but did not say why the event was postponed.