Politics

Bodycam Footage Ruins Black State Rep’s Racism Claim for Traffic Stop

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Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson insisted he was pulled over for “driving while black” and used the incident as a political rallying cry — the only problem is, the officer’s body camera footage tells a different story.

The incident in the early hours of July 4 during a routine traffic stop in St. Paul, when an unnamed police sergeant pulled the Democratic lawmaker over after observing that he had no front license plate and was driving at a high speed, according to Fox News.

The officer found Thompson was using a Wisconsin driver’s license, which had been suspended for failure to pay child support, according to WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.

Thompson, who was elected in November and took office in January, has never had a Minnesota driver’s license, WCCO reported.

To make matters even more questionable, the address Thompson gave when receiving the ticket is not in the district he represents, WCCO reported. Under Minnesota law, the state’s lawmakers are required to “have maintained residence in the district from which the candidate seeks election for 30 days before the general election.”

Still, Johnson decided to milk this otherwise uneventful stop into fuel for the racial-strife furnace during a rally for Philando Castile, a black man who was shot by a police officer during a July 6, 2016, traffic stop. The officer involved was charged with second-degree manslaughter but was acquitted, CNN reported at the time.

“We’re still getting ‘driving while black’ tickets in this state and, in fact, in St. Paul,” Thompson said during a demonstration in front of the governor’s residence on the fifth anniversary of the shooting, according to KSTP-TV.

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