Being pulled over by the police led to calls for an investigation of Minnesota State Representative John Thompson’s candidacy. After Rep. Thompson was pulled over and claimed he was being racially profiled, he provided a valid Wisconsin Driver’s License, which, according to Rep. Thompson was renewed in case he needed to go back and care for someone. This led to a letter being sent to Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, requesting he consider charging Thompson with fraud or perjury. Rep. Thompson did in fact provide an address in Saint Paul.
“I live and work in St. Paul, and have for many years,” he said. “My Wisconsin license hadn’t previously been an issue for me, but I will now be changing it to a Minnesota license, as I should have before.”
Rep. Thompson claimed he was racially profiled. Racial profiling is a common experience for the Black community, and especially for Black men. It’s happened to me, my family, my friends… And it was the act that led to the death of Philando Castile, who was Rep. Thompson’s friend, and the inspiration that sparked his interest in running for office. Racial profiling is linked back to the Slave Patrol days (the former term for police), where the mission of policing was simply to monitor and control people of color. Racial profiling is inherently the assumption that one is wrongdoing before actually proving so. I, myself, have been racially profiled in two instances… One, I was riding with my white coworker to work and he had a very expensive Audi. We were pulled over and asked where we were headed, as the officer asked for his license and registration. There was no real reason for us to have been pulled over, but I assume it’s because I had long dreadlocks, which from the back puts me on the list of descriptions for the stereotypical “criminal.” And two, even further back to when I was about seventeen. I was riding in a car with my friends. There were about 5 of us. Four of us were Black and had locs, and there was one Asian friend. The cop pulled us over for no apparent reason, and asked for identification from everyone but my Asian friend; which was actually a very disheartening experience as a young adult. It’s been common for cops to get behind me on the highway just to run my plates and drive away, but that’s cut down drastically since I’ve cut my hair, which supports my point. Racial profiling is a form of stereotyping. If the police feel you “look like a threat,” you will be pulled over.
We’re still getting driving while Black tickets here in this state. Matter of fact in Saint Paul.
Representative John Thompson left unticketed for the reason he was pulled over, which according to the cops was a missing front plate and taking off quickly. But Rep. Thompson said he was pulled over because of his skin.
I’m too old to run from the police, man. You profiled me because you looked at 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.
During investigation, the Minnesota Department of Safety uncovered Rep. Thompson’s Minnesota’s drivers license was revoked in April of 2019 due to his lack of child support. He still has yet to have a Minnesota ID. Rep. Thompson is being accused of not getting a Minnesota ID for this reason, as Wisconsin does not revoke licenses for child support purposes. Rep. Thompson says he’s going to get a Minnesota ID as this investigation continues.