Minnesota vice: DFL abandons activist state rep after failing due diligence

What a disaster — and an avoidable one at that. The last we heard from Minnesota state representative John Thompson, he launched a feud between the police and his DFL party while running for his first term in August. That took place shortly after Thompson led a profane protest at the home of Minneapolis Police union president Bob Kroll, threatening to burn the city of Hugo down and shouting “F*** Hugo!”

For some reason, the DFL stuck with Thompson without doing anything to vet him more thoroughly before the election. Now Minnesota Democrats want Thompson gone after an embarrassing traffic stop revealed a pattern of domestic abuse — which a basic background check might have uncovered months ago:

Now, less than a year later, state Republican and Democratic officials, including Gov. Tim Walz (D), are calling for Thompson’s ouster after his own recent traffic stop led to new revelations about his past. Since the stop, police reports have surfaced showing that, years ago, Thompson was accused of choking and hitting a girlfriend on multiple occasions and once exposing his genitals to a couple of women while children were present.

“Minnesotans deserve representatives who uphold the highest moral character and share our values,” Walz tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “Following the deeply disturbing reports of domestic violence against multiple women, Rep. Thompson can no longer effectively be that leader and should immediately resign.”

This all started because Thompson got caught driving his car without a required front license plate, a minor issue that would normally be resolved with a fix-it ticket. Instead, Thompson immediately began escalating the incident, combining a do-you-know-who-I-am attitude with accusations of being targeted because of his race. It was the former which led to the first in the series of embarrassing revelations:

On July 4, a St. Paul police officer pulled Thompson over because he was allegedly driving without a front license plate. During the stop, Thompson noted he was a current state representative. But when the officer looked at Thompson’s license, he was puzzled: The license was from Wisconsin.

The revelation raised questions about whether Thompson lived in the district he represents. His affidavit of candidacy says he does, the Star Tribune reported, and Thompson said in a statement last week that, “I live and work in St. Paul, and have for many years.”

Nonetheless, the episode led a local news station, Fox 9, to investigate Thompson’s residency. In the process, the station discovered police reports detailing four incidents, from 2003 to 2009, that allege Thompson hit, choked and exposed himself to women — sometimes in the presence of young children.

Local Fox reporter Tom Lyden detailed the arrests that the media and DFL missed last year for some reason:

The domestic violence cases stretch back to October 2003, in Superior, Wisconsin, when Thompson was arrested after he allegedly struck his girlfriend in the face with an open and closed fist. The woman’s five-year-old daughter witnessed the assault, which happened in a Supermarket parking lot.

Thompson’s girlfriend said she and her child were homeless and declined to cooperate.

Superior Police said Thompson fled the scene and resisted arrest when he was found a short time later. Thompson eventually pled guilty in Douglas County, Wisconsin to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Thompson allegedly attacked the same girlfriend nearly a year later, August 2004, at her Eagan apartment. Police arrived after a 911 hang-up call.

She said during an argument with Thompson, he broke the phone cord and put both hands around her neck and began choking her.

During the struggle Thompson allegedly said, “I’ll choke you until you can’t breathe anymore.”

She said she ran out of the apartment screaming, but Thompson grabbed her and dragged her back to the apartment. She said she even tried to escape through a window.

Then there’s this rather disgusting incident in St. Paul:

In September 2009, St. Paul Police officers responded to a call of domestic violence involving Thompson and two women. Thompson and the women were fighting about a cellphone he received from another girlfriend. It is unclear from the report if it is the girlfriend from the previous cases.

During that 2009 incident, according to the reports, as the yelling escalated Thompson pulled out his penis in front of his girlfriend and two young children and said, “I’m the man, you can all s—- my d—-.”

And this:

St. Paul Police responded to another domestic assault involving a different woman in March 2010. The victim said she had been with Thompson for 11 years and they have two children together.

During an argument, Thompson allegedly removed his penis from his pants and told her to “kiss the tip,” in front of relatives and children.

Later, she told police, Thompson grabbed her around the neck with both hands and told her, “I’ll choke you until your voice box stops.”

Isn’t it odd that these cases have come to light now, rather than when Thompson ran for office? Thompson’s attorney accused police of a vendetta in releasing the data:

Thompson “challenges the authenticity” of the five police reports and said that he and his wife, the only person he would have been with at the time, deny the allegations, said Thompson’s attorney, Jordan Kushner.

The reports, Kushner said, were likely circulated to the press by a law enforcement group engaged in a “smear campaign” against the first-term lawmaker.

Riiiiiight. Perhaps someone with this record shouldn’t have gotten out in front of Bob Kroll’s house in the first place, especially to put his derangement on public display.

Now Walz and the rest of the DFL want Thompson to resign. Perhaps they should have been more on the ball last year and opposed his candidacy in the first place. That might have been especially helpful after Thompson started a feud with police, but instead Walz and the DFL embraced Thompson and sided with him in that feud. It’s a little late in the day for distance now.