St. Paul police say Rep. John Thompson apologized to the police officer he accused of racial profiling during a traffic stop July 4, but Thompson said Sunday that he did not apologize.
Police Chief Todd Axtell had demanded Thompson apologize for the profiling accusation after Axtell said body camera footage of the encounter refuted the accusations of Thompson, DFL-St. Paul.
"On Friday, Rep. Thompson unexpectedly showed up at our western district offices and asked to see the sergeant who pulled him over on July 4," police spokesman Steve Linders said in an e-mail Sunday. "The two had a brief conversation, during which the representative apologized to the sergeant."
But in an interview with the Star Tribune on Sunday, Thompson described it as a "private conversation" between two men.
"Nobody knows what was said in that conversation but me and the sergeant," he said.
He said one of his constituents made lunch Friday for St. Paul's western district and asked Thompson to go along on the visit.
He and the officer walked away from their conversation "not agreeing on everything," Thompson said, adding that it was important they talked if anything was going to change.
During the stop, the officer found Thompson was driving with only a Wisconsin driver's license, prompting questions about his residency. Thompson also received a citation for driving with a suspended license. Thompson told the officer and later a crowd that he believed he was pulled over for "driving while Black."
Police said Thompson was stopped because his car lacked a front license plate.
The profiling accusation is one of several high-profile controversies that have embroiled the first-term representative recently. Multiple domestic violence accusations against Thompson have surfaced, leading to calls from Gov. Tim Walz and Democratic and Republican lawmakers for Thompson to resign. Thompson has refused.
The House ethics committee on Friday held an initial hearing related to a previous complaint against Thompson. That complaint was filed last month by Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton, over Thompson twice calling Lucero a racist on the House floor. Members took no action because Thompson requested more time to find a lawyer.
Thompson also was convicted last week of misdemeanor charges for obstruction of justice related to a 2019 disturbance at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale.
Erin Adler • 612-226-4030