State Rep. John Thompson, an independent St. Paul lawmaker involved in multiple controversies, has been accused of becoming "irate" while interfering with officers who pulled over his 26-year-old daughter over the weekend.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell has slammed what he describes as the "outrageous" behavior of Thompson, who was last year ousted from the DFL caucus after a driver's license controversy led reporters to court records detailing allegations of domestic abuse. He claims Thompson tried to "intimidate and bully" officers.
According to St. Paul Police, the incident began around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday when an officer conducting impaired driving enforcement on Interstate-35W noticed a van swerving out of its lane.
According to police, the van exited at Cayuga Street and stopped at a red light and the officer confirmed the vehicle's tabs had expired two years ago.
When the traffic light turned green, the officer activated the squad's emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop on the van, but the van's driver did not pull over until the officer had chirped her squad's siren several times, eventually stopping them on Westminster Street.
When the officer approached the van's front passenger-side window, the driver refused to roll down the window more than an inch.
Additional squads responded and placed a pursuit terminator under the van's tires. The officer who made the traffic stop could smell "illegal drugs" coming from the van.
While another officer attempted to speak with the driver, Thompson arrived at the scene "at a high rate of speed", identified the van's driver as his daughter and began handing out business cards, according to police.
"Thompson continued to yell and scream in an irate fashion—and mention his elected position several times—as the van’s driver continued to ignore officers and made a video call," the police report continues.
The driver refused field sobriety tests and was allowed to go home with Thompson, according to police. The case has been submitted to the City Attorney for charging consideration.
Bring Me The News has reached out to Thompson for comment on the incident.
Police Chief responds
In a Facebook post, Police Chief Todd Axtell called the scene "outrageous" and said Thompson's daughter also had a suspended license.
"It’s an absolute shame—that an elected official would attempt 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, that John Thompson is still serving in the Legislature," Axtell wrote.
"It’s a slap in the face to those of us—including our police officers—who are working in good faith to make our city safer for everyone. How many times? How many times do our officers have to be berated? How many times do lies have to come to light?" he continued.
Last year, Thompson made headlines when he was pulled over for driving without a front license plate. It was later reported he presented officers with a Wisconsin drivers license, despite representing St. Paul in the Legislature.
Thompson called the traffic stop an act of racial profiling, which Axtell publicly denied.
He was eventually ousted from the DFL caucus after the driver's license controversy led reporters to court records detailing allegations of domestic abuse. He has resisted calls to resign, instead saying he would serve as an independent.
Before this, he was criticized for being involved in a protest outside the home of former Minneapolis Police Federation president Bob Kroll, during which effigies of Kroll and his wife, local reporter Liz Collin, were burned.