Bodycam video casts doubt on pol’s ‘driving while black’ claim

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Bodycam video casts doubt on pol's 'driving while black' claim

Newly released police bodycam footage raises serious doubts about a Minnesota lawmaker’s claim that he was pulled over and ticketed by cops for “driving while black.”

And cops now want an apology.

The video, released by St. Paul police, shows state Rep. John Thompson after he was pulled over around 1:20 a.m. on July 4.

“Why in such a hurry?” the cop asks Thompson.

“I don’t think I took off like a bat out of hell,” Thompson responds on the video, which was published by bringmethenews.com.

“I just drove off,” the lawmaker said. “I’m a state representative in this district right now.

“With a Wisconsin license?” the officer asks.

“Yes, with a Wisconsin license,” Thompson said. “I’m state Representative John Thompson.”

The cop then returns to his squad car and runs a check on Thompson’s license.

After 14 minutes, the unnamed officer returns to Thompson and tells him his license in Minnesota is suspended, the footage shows.

The state rep shakes his head, but the officer tells him, “that’s what the computer says. If it’s wrong, you’ll have to deal with DVS,” or the Department of Vehicle Services.

Thompson then asks the cop why he was pulled over.

Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson claims he was racially profiled after being pulled over by authorities on July 4.
Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson claims he was racially profiled after being pulled over by authorities on July 4.
St. Paul Police Department

“No front plate, and the way you took off from the light back there,” the officer says.

“I’m too old to run from the police, man,” Thompson says. “You profiled me because you looked me dead in the fact and I got a ticket for driving while black.

“You pulled me over because you saw a black face in this car, brother,” the lawmaker said. “There’s no way in hell I’m taking off with you behind me. You looked in this car and busted a U-turn and got behind my car, and that’s the reason.”

The officer tells him “it’s on camera.”

“I know, but what you’re doing is wrong to black men, and you need to stop that,” Thompson said before the cop walks back to his vehicle.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell later fired back at Thompson’s claims, KSTP-TV said.

“Simply put, the traffic stop was by the book,” Axtell told the station on Friday. “What happened afterward was anything but. I’m dismayed and disappointed by the state representative’s response to the stop.

John Thompson is seen at a fundraiser at Central High School in St. Paul, Minnesota on Aug. 21, 2016.
John Thompson, seen in 2016, told the officer who pulled him over that he was “profiled” “because you looked me dead in the fact and I got a ticket for driving while black.”
Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press via AP

“Rather than taking responsibility for his own decisions and actions, he attempted to deflect, cast aspersions, and deny any wrongdoing,” the chief said.

Thompson did not respond to numerous requests for comment from KSTP.

The outlet said Thompson has never had a Minnesota driver’s license and said his “driving privileges” were suspended in 2019 due to unpaid child support.

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