No felony charges will be filed against a House DFL candidate who shouted expletives within earshot of neighbors and children at a protest Saturday outside the home of Minneapolis police union president Bob Kroll.
Twitter videos show John Thompson, a DFL activist who last week won his primary for House District 67A in St. Paul, shouting into a microphone to the group of protesters. 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 Kroll and his wife, WCCO reporter Liz Collin, before dispersing. The rally drew more than 100 people who urged that both be fired from their jobs.
In a joint statement issued late Monday afternoon, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput and Sheriff Dan Starry, said that they found that Thompson’s comments, “though grossly inappropriate,” didn’t violate felony statutes.
They added that they would continue to review the incident for other violations of state law or city ordinance.
According to Orput and Starry’s statement, they had been in touch with protest organizers in hopes of facilitating a peaceful event. But they said Thompson “chose divisive, hurtful and inflammatory rhetoric to include berating children who were present,” and also “chose to admonish the men and women wearing the Sheriff’s Office uniform that were present to protect all citizens in this instance.”
Thompson on Sunday posted an apology on Facebook.
“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 issued a statement Sunday saying the party didn’t condone such rhetoric.
“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.
Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan, in a statement Saturday, referred to the protesters as “radical Democrats” who had harassed the community surrounding Kroll’s home.