The Potluck

Anti-police-brutality activist/House candidate’s son arrested on gun charge

By: - September 10, 2020 1:47 pm

John Thompson speaks at a protest at the home of Bob Kroll, the Minneapolis police union president, in Hugo, Minn. on Aug. 15. Photo from Unicorn Riot video

The candidate for the Minnesota House who made inflammatory, profane remarks during a protest outside the home of a police union leader in Hugo is facing more controversy following the recent arrest of his son on a gun charge.

John Thompson will likely become a state lawmaker after winning a DFL primary in a heavily Democratic district in St. Paul. Just days after winning the primary, however, he faced a wave of criticism after he was seen on video saying “Let Hugo burn” and “Blue lives ain’t sh-t” and other profanities last month during a Black Lives Matter protest outside the home of Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis police union, and his wife, Liz Collin, a WCCO reporter. Protesters also took turns taking swings at piñata effigies of Kroll and Collin.

Thompson, who is running for the House in District 67A in St. Paul, later apologized. Contacted Thursday, he declined to comment, saying his wife was recently injured in a car wreck and he needed to be there for her.

The conservative publication Alpha News first reported Damarco Thompson’s arrest. 

Damarco Thompson has a complicated relationship with St. Paul police. He was arrested for felony possession of a pistol without a permit Sept. 2 after police pulled him over for “numerous moving violations” after he left a bar. 

As reported two years ago, Damarco Thompson was shot several times outside a funeral home in St. Paul in August 2018, and found by officers in an alley with gunshot wounds to his chest. According to a St. Paul press release, officer Mathew Jones used a T-shirt to apply pressure to the wound until medics arrived. Jones later received an award for his actions.

At the time, Thompson told local media he didn’t know why his son was shot. Thompson became an activist after his friend, Philando Castile, was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer in 2016.

Jamar Nelson, a spokesman for Thompson, criticized Alpha News as biased against Black people but declined to comment further on the Damarco Thompson matter. 

“John is focused on the election Nov. 3,” Nelson said.

He said Thompson has made an enemy of the police and “different white folks” but the Black community is standing behind him. Thompson and his family members have been receiving “serious, extreme” death threats since the Hugo protest, including threats against his wife and children.

“It’s gotten dangerous,” Nelson said.

The House DFL recently canceled a fundraiser featuring Thompson after the state’s largest police group, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers association, called on the House DFL to drop its support of Thompson, who won the DFL primary. 

The House DFL declined to comment on the latest news about Thompson.

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs. Before joining the staff of the Reformer in 2021 she was a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She and her husband have a daughter, son, and very grand child. In her spare time, she likes to play tennis, jog, garden and attempt to check out all the best restaurants in the metro area.