Minnesota Republican leaders are criticizing as “reprehensible” a Black Lives Matter protest where a Minnesota House candidate shouted expletives within earshot of neighbors and children.
More than 100 people congregated outside Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll’s home in Hugo, where he lives with his wife, WCCO reporter Liz Collin. The rally on Saturday came as part of an effort calling for both Kroll and Collin to be fired from their jobs.
Two videos circulating on Twitter show John Thompson, a DFL activist who last week won his primary for House District 67A in St. Paul, wearing a shirt reading “Bob KKKroll Must Go!” and shouting into a microphone to the group of protesters, with neighbors and children nearby. One clip shows him saying “You think we give a [expletive] about burning Hugo down?” In another, he says “[Expletive] Hugo.” Activists also smashed piñata effigies of the pair and took a knee before dispersing.
In a statement on Saturday, Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan referred to the protesters as “radical Democrats” who harassed the community surrounding Kroll’s home.
Thompson’s words and the “overall sentiment of today’s Democrats is reprehensible,” the statement read.
Thompson posted an apology on Facebook on Sunday, writing that he became an activist and decided to run for the Legislature to fix the criminal justice system, dismantle institutional racism and honor his friend, Philando Castile.
“I want to make a positive difference and my comments on Saturday were not helpful,” he wrote. “Inflammatory rhetoric is not how I want to address the important issues we’re facing, and I apologize.”
Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin also issued a statement Sunday saying the party does not condone any rhetoric that is violent, hateful or inflammatory.
“I’m grateful for the work John is doing to combat systemic racism, and I’m glad that he recognizes yesterday’s rhetoric was inflammatory, hurtful, and does not help move our state forward in the fight for justice,” Martin wrote.