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'Time to turn the page': Rep. John Thompson says he plans to stay in office as an Independent after DFL oust

On Tuesday evening, the House voted to expel Johnson from the DFL caucus. The vote came on the heels of a string of controversies.
Credit: KARE11

ST PAUL, Minn. — State Rep. John Thompson says expulsion from the DFL caucus and calls from members of the DFL for his resignation will not "dampen his resolve" to stay in office.

The embattled representative, who serves District 67A in St. Paul, said he will stay in his position as an Independent. A statement released Wednesday by Johnson's office said in part:

"I will continue to serve on critical committees, author relevant legislation, and co-sign onto bills that will be crafted to benefit our community.

"The fact of the matter is there is still much work to be done. It is time to turn the page and move forward with the work."

On Tuesday evening, Johnson was expelled from the DFL caucus after a vote by Minnesota House Democrats. The vote came on the heels of a string of controversies in recent months.

Several top Democratic leaders had called for Rep. Thompson's resignation after police reports were uncovered showing a series of domestic assault allegations against him dating back to 2003. Multiple incidents, according to the reports, happened in front of children.

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." Thompson's wife, Lea Austin-Thompson, also denied the allegations, telling reporters in late July, "I have never been abused. He never has abused me." 

Thompson was also criticized after he 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."

In late July, Thompson was found guilty of obstruction in a 2019 disturbance with police at North Memorial Hospital. Thompson was sentenced to a small fine and probation.

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