Minnesota Democratic candidate riled up crowd at police union official’s home

Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor-Party (DFL) candidate John Thompson ran a local progressive campaign, which also included strong anti-police rhetoric. Thompson made Black Lives Matter rhetoric a part of his campaign, which included protesting outside of a police union official’s home.

Thompson is an activist based in the St. Paul area and is running for a state representative seat this election year.

Thompson participated in a demonstration outside of Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll’s home in Hugo, Minnesota, which is a suburb north of St. Paul. The candidate and about 100 other demonstrators were caught on video shouting divisive rhetoric and beating effigies of Kroll and his wife outside of their home. Kroll’s wife is a local journalist.

Video caught Thompson yelling profanities at the couple’s home, “Come on over here with your Blue Lives Matter sign,” Thompson said. “Blue lives ain’t s-t! And if people in Hugo don’t support black people, f—k Hugo, Minnesota!”

The police union’s national body called the invasive protest an example of “violent and outrageous behavior.” “This is violent and outrageous behavior — and not just rhetoric — specifically against a police officer and his family,” MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said in a statement, “Anyone — including candidates for office — that supports Thompson’s candidacy to the [Minnesota House of Representatives] cannot be considered a supporter of law enforcement.”

The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists also condemned the demonstration and called it a “direct threat” to journalism. On Twitter, the organization wrote, “MNSPJ supports the public’s constitutional right to protest peacefully, but views the destruction of Collin’s image on her private property to be a direct threat against her as a journalist.”

Criticism led to calls from the police union for the Minnesota DFL to postpone a September fundraiser  where Thompson was invited to participate . The party resisted overtures at first, but later agreed to postpone the fundraiser. Minnesota House Speaker, Democrat Melissa Hortman, said there was “deep frustration” with Thompson’s actions and noted that he has since apologized. “I have accepted his apology and will be working alongside him in future legislative sessions to improve the state,” Hortman wrote.

Thompson issued an apology through social media platform Facebook after the video of his participation went viral, explaining that “I became an activist and ran for the legislature to make a difference, to work diligently to fix our broken criminal justice system, dismantle institutional racism, and honor my friend, Philando Castile and become a symbol of help within our community.” He added, “I want to make a positive difference, and my comments on Saturday were not helpful.” Thompson concluded that “Inflammatory rhetoric is not how I want to address the important issues we’re facing, and I apologize. I’m not apologizing for my passion to fight injustice.”

In other words, Thompson apologized for his divisive words and behavior, but couched it in a manner to prove that he is a passionate activist.

Minnesota DFL officials did not rescind their endorsement of Thompson, but condemned his comments. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz wrote on Twitter that “We cannot accept the threatening behavior and rhetoric we’ve seen recently in our political discourse.” Walz added, “When I talk about building One Minnesota, it doesn’t mean we all agree or that we won’t fight for what we believe in.”

“It means we treat each other with decency and respect,” he said. It is not an anomaly that progressives and socialists are part of the mainstream of the Democratic Party at the local, state, and federal levels. It is also not out of the ordinary that the same progressive and socialist party candidates harbor anti-police sentiments.

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