Updated: July 08, 2021 07:13 PM
Created: July 08, 2021 06:32 PM
A Minnesota state lawmaker was cited Sunday morning for driving with suspended driving privileges.
Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, was pulled over by St. Paul Police near Seventh Street East and Wacouta Street at 1:18 a.m. Sunday for not having a front license plate, police said.
Thompson has been an outspoken advocate for changing state law to prohibit so-called "pre-textual" traffic stops for things like expired tabs. Thompson and other supporters of such a change say the minor infractions are often used to racially profile Black drivers.
St. Paul Police say Thompson told the officer he was a Minnesota state representative and claimed he was being racially profiled. When asked for his driver's license, Thompson gave the officer a Wisconsin driver's license. Police said officers then learned Thompson's Minnesota driving privileges were suspended in 2019 for failing to pay child support.
At a rally for Philando Castile on Tuesday, Thompson said, "I'm still being profiled...too. In fact, I was just pulled over Saturday for a pre-textual stop...you don't have a front license plate and I got a ticket for my license. Anyway, I thought we weren't doing pre-textual stops here in this state, but we are. We're still getting 'driving while Black tickets here in this state. As a matter of fact, in St. Paul. So let's just call it what it is, right?"
Police denied racially profiling Thompson, saying they had no idea who they were pulling over. The officer who pulled Thompson over is working on the "Toward Zero Deaths" traffic campaign.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reached out to Thompson for comment multiple times this afternoon, but we haven't heard back from him. However, he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Thursday he doesn't have a Minnesota license and doesn't owe any child support.
A check of records by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS indicates Thompson's driving privileges were reinstated Wednesday. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) said they were reinstated after his child support obligations were fulfilled. However, a spokesman for DPS confirmed Thompson doesn't have a Minnesota license as required for anyone living in the state for 60 days.
Thompson has lived in Minnesota for at least 18 years. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS confirmed he does have a valid Wisconsin driver's license but it's unclear what address he claims as his primary residence.
This is a developing story. Stay with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS for the latest updates on-air and online.
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