DFL state Rep. John Thompson is under fire this week for using a Wisconsin driver’s license despite holding office and voting in Minnesota, a fact revealed after he was involved in a St. Paul traffic stop.
Thompson was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2020, representing District 67A, on the east side of St. Paul. Before getting elected he was a community activist and worked as a machinist.
His election followed his public activism in the aftermath of Philando Castile’s shooting death during a police traffic stop. Thompson and Castile were friends, and he vowed to seek change in law enforcement policies as a result.
During the 2020 campaign, Thompson participated in a protest outside the Hugo home of Bob Kroll, then president of the Minneapolis police union. Thompson was recorded striking effigies of Kroll and his wife and talking about “burning Hugo down.” He later apologized for “inflammatory rhetoric,” stayed in the race and was elected in his heavily DFL district. But Republicans used the incident against other Democrats on the ballot given their association with and endorsement of him.
On July 4, St. Paul police pulled Thompson over for not having a front license plate on his car. He presented a Wisconsin driver’s license. He was cited for driving on a suspended license due to unpaid child support. A few days later, Thompson discussed the stop publicly in a speech, in which he claimed to have been racially profiled.
The incident provoked widespread discussion and criticism after the St. Paul Pioneer Press published details of Thompson’s ticket, including the fact that he had Wisconsin identification despite serving as a state representative in Minnesota. The Minnesota Constitution requires lawmakers to live within their districts.