Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Violence against women is something he shares with George Floyd

Top Minnesota Democrats — including Gov. Tim Walz — are calling for the resignation of far-left state representative John Thompson over reports of past domestic violence allegations, the Star Tribune reported.

The paper said the domestic assault cases were from 2003 to 2010 and included allegations that Thompson punched and choked women, sometimes in the presence of children.

The news was the latest in a string of headline-grabbing controversies Thompson has attracted over the last year:

  • He accused a St. Paul police sergeant of racial profiling during a traffic stop earlier this month, after which the police chief demanded an apology from Thompson.
  • While the traffic stop was for lack of a license plate, the Pioneer Press said Thompson was cited for operating a motor vehicle after his driving privileges were suspended. KTSP said the suspension was due to unpaid child support, adding that public safety officials said that issue was taken care of this month and Thompson was now eligible to get a Minnesota driver's license.
  • Thompson — a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party — also presented a Wisconsin driver's license to the officer who pulled him over, which raised questions about his residency and ability to hold office in Minnesota, the station added.
  • He also called a Republican state representative a racist on the House floor, the Star Tribune reported, after which the GOP lawmaker in question filed a complaint against Thompson. The paper said a hearing is scheduled Friday on that complaint, which argued that Thompson violated House conduct.

What are the details regarding the domestic violence allegations?

The Star Tribune, citing KMSP-TV, said an October 2003 domestic abuse report alleged Thompson struck his girlfriend in the face in a supermarket parking lot in front of her 5-year-old daughter, after which he fled police, then pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct.

In 2004, Thompson allegedly hit, choked, and threatened the same woman in her apartment because she dialed 911, the paper said, adding that KMSP reported that children were present.

The Star Tribune, citing KMSP, reported that police were called in 2009 after an argument between Thompson and two women over a cellphone, during which Thompson allegedly exposed his genitals in front of one woman and her children.

The paper said Thompson was not charged with domestic assault in any of the aforementioned instances. 

What did Democrats have to say?

"The alleged acts of violence against multiple women outlined in these reports are serious and deeply disturbing," Walz, a DFL Party member, said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune. "Minnesotans deserve representatives of the highest moral character, who uphold our shared values. Rep. Thompson can no longer effectively be that leader and he should immediately resign."

More from the paper:

Along with Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler and state DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin all called for Thompson's immediate resignation Saturday, sending out releases within minutes of one another. Also calling for Thompson's resignation was U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, whose congressional district includes St. Paul.

"As a mom, advocate for children, and survivor and child witness of domestic violence, I know the deeply traumatic impact of the actions outlined in reports against Rep. Thompson," Flanagan, a Democrat, said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune. "Someone who has allegedly demonstrated this violent pattern of behavior, especially in the presence of children, is unfit to serve in elected office."

Thompson won't resign, lawyer says

The paper said Thompson did not immediately respond to a request for comment; however, his attorney, Jordan Kushner, said Thompson "maintains the allegations are false and he was never found guilty of them in a court."

In addition, Kushner said Thompson did not plan to step down as of Saturday evening, the Star Tribune added. "It's a shame that there's no concern about due process," he told the paper.

More from the Star Tribune:

In a statement issued Sunday, Kushner said said Thompson "challenges the authenticity of the police reports that have been circulated to the press" and that he and his wife, the only person he would have been with at the time, deny the allegations. He said the reports were likely circulated to the press by law enforcement groups engaged in a "smear campaign" against Thompson.

"If these police reports existed in their current form, it is unfathomable that the many people digging into Mr. Thompson's past would not have found those police reports before the November election much less during the ensuing months," the statement added, according to the paper. "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."

Anything else?

The Star Tribune added that House Republican Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said members of his caucus will file ethics complaints against Thompson on Monday if he does not resign before then.

"Rep. Thompson's disturbing domestic violence incidents, malicious accusations of racism against law enforcement and colleagues at the Legislature, and disregard for state law makes it clear he is unfit to serve in the Minnesota House," Daudt said, according to the paper.

And if Thompson doesn't resign, the Star Tribune said a House ethics panel can recommend action by the full chamber — and any vacancy in his seat would be filled by a special election called by Walz.

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