MINNEAPOLIS — A Hennepin County jury has returned a guilty verdict against state representative John Thompson in connection with a 2019 disturbance at North Memorial Hospital.
Thompson, now a Democratic state lawmaker known for his prominent stance on police reform, was charged with misdemeanor obstruction for allegedly resisting when a Robbinsdale police officer attempted to place him in handcuffs.
The jury of five women and one man began deliberating the case at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and returned their verdict in three hours.
KARE 11 reporter John Croman, who has been following the case from the courtroom, said Thompson was given a stayed sentence to the county workhouse for 30 days. As it's a stayed sentence, he won't have to go there unless there's a same or similar offense. He will also owe a $200 fine and a $78 fee.
Thompson told the judge that he respects the jury's decision, but that the case shouldn't have been brought to court.
"African American men are treated like criminals," Thompson said. "I'm not a criminal."
Thompson said he and his family were shown disrespect and inhumanity at the hospital, and that it wouldn't have happened to a white family.
“I’m going to keep fighting for what is right," he said outside the courtroom. "You know me. You know I’m not a criminal."
Thompson told reporters that he plans to spend time with his family to make a decision on what to do next. He declined to answer a question about whether he will resign from public office over a series of domestic assault allegations, as party leaders have demanded.
"I’ll continue to do the work and continue to be a voice for the people who don’t have a voice," Thompson said.
Thompson insisted during testimony that he did not intentionally resist when that officer told him he was trespassing and had to leave the hospital. He told jurors Tuesday that hospital staff were demonstrating "white fragility" when they called police, because they felt their lives were in jeopardy from a large group that had gathered to check on a family friend who had attempted suicide.
The trial is just the latest bump in the road for Thompson, who was pulled over and cited on July 4 for not having a front license plate on his vehicle. St. Paul police also said Thompson was driving with a Wisconsin license that had been renewed after he was elected to the state house, raising questions about his legal residence and whether he actually lives in the district he represents.
For his part, Thompson publicly accused the sergeant who pulled him over of racial profiling, saying he was stopped for "driving while black."
Shortly after that high-profile incident, a series of police reports were uncovered alleging domestic abuse by Thompson that took place between 2003 and 2010.
Thompson denied any abuse took place. His attorney wrote that Thompson "challenges the authenticity of the police reports that have
been circulated to the press."
Gov. Walz and a number of political leaders on both sides of the aisle have called for Thompson to resign his legislative post due to the allegations.
House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt has publicly stated that Republicans are ready to file ethics complaints against Thompson. Democratic Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman told Daudt in a letter Wednesday that she’d refer any complaint to the House Ethics Committee.
Without an ethics complaint, Hortman said she would not take action until Thompson's court proceedings end.