A first-term Minnesota Democratic legislator rebuffed mounting calls to resign by Democratic leaders, including Gov. Tim Walz, over domestic-assault allegations that surfaced after a high-profile traffic stop.
State Rep. John Thompson denied the claims in a Sunday statement issued by attorney Jordan Kushner, who said the lawmaker “challenges the authenticity of the police reports that have been circulated to the press.”
“Mr. Thompson and his wife - the only person whom Mr. Thompson would have been with at the times of the incidents - categorically deny that any of the inflammatory allegations (including but not limited to choking anyone or exposing himself) ever occurred,” said Mr. Kushner in an email. “Mr. Thompson’s wife further does not recall and does not believe she ever made such allegations.”
Fox9 in Minneapolis first reported that Mr. Thompson was involved in multiple domestic-assault cases. Court records from 2003 to 2011 show he pleaded guilty in three cases to reduced charges of disorderly conduct, while a fourth case was dismissed.
Mr. Kushner said that his client, now on trial in a 2019 obstruction case in Hennepin County Court, “maintains the allegations are false and he was never found guilty of them in a court,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Mr. Walz joined the Democratic House leadership, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the Republican Party of Minnesota in calling Saturday for Mr. Thompson to step down from his seat representing St. Paul’s east side.
“The alleged acts of violence against multiple women outlined in these reports are serious and deeply disturbing,” Mr. Walz said in a statement. “Minnesotans deserve representatives of the highest moral character, who uphold our shared values. Representative Thompson can no longer effectively be that leader and he should immediately resign.”
DFL party chairman Ken Martin said that “nobody credibly accused of such heinous acts has any place in elected office.”
“Numerous allegations against Rep. John Thompson have recently come to light that show an incredibly disturbing pattern of violent and abusive behavior,” said Mr. Martin. “The reports that Thompson physically assaulted multiple women, often in the presence of children, are absolutely sickening.”
Mr. Thompson, an activist and friend of Philando Castile, who was killed by police in a high-profile 2016 shooting during a traffic stop, came under scrutiny after he accused police of racial profiling for pulling him over July 4 for a missing front license plate.
He produced a Wisconsin driver’s license, raising questions about whether he legally resides in his St. Paul district or even in Minnesota.
He said last week he lives in St. Paul, even though he had renewed the Wisconsin license for more than 20 years, most recently in November, when he was elected to the Minnesota state legislature.
His Minnesota driver’s license privileges had been suspended over a child-support dispute that he said has been resolved, according to local media reports.
Mr. Kushner blamed “persons associated with law enforcement” for “waging a smear campaign against Mr. Thompson since his speech in Hugo, MN in August 2020,” referring to a protest outside a police union official’s house.
“The police reports are a product of the campaign to silence an American African man who speaks out against powerful and abusive interests, and not the product of any effort to uncover truth,” Mr. Kushner said.
Fox9 said it obtained the police reports through Minnesota Data Practices Act requests. The state court records are available online.
The Democratic legislator, who introduced bills this year to end qualified immunity for police and speed up release of body-camera footage, is currently on trial for a misdemeanor obstruction charge stemming from a brouhaha at North Memorial Hospital.
Mr. Thompson accused the staff of behaving rudely based on racism after he and dozens of others arrived to visit his son’s friend, an incident that resulted in a fight and the hospital being placed on lockdown for 90 minutes.
“My client’s going to court because he’s innocent of the charge. Worse than that, he’s being persecuted because he’s outspoken where he sees racism, and that’s why he’s being prosecuted in this case,” Mr. Kushner told KARE-TV.