Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin broke his silence Sunday evening regarding the threatening and inflammatory comments made by one of his party’s candidates during a Saturday protest.
“We coming for everything that you motherf–ers took from us,” said John Thompson, a DFL-endorsed candidate for House District 67A, during a protest outside the home of Bob Kroll, who leads the Minneapolis police union.
“This whole [vulgarity] state burned down for 20 [vulgarity] dollars. You think we give a f– about burning Hugo down?” he added, referring to Kroll’s hometown of Hugo, Minnesota.
John Thompson, who recently won his Primary for 67A in St. Paul, goes off and screams at neighborhood children, residents, and neighbors of Police Union Leader Bob Kroll.
"F*CK, Hugo Minnesota!"
BLM protesters gathered today outside Kroll's home. pic.twitter.com/1vTaiTQsML
— Alpha News MN (@AlphaNewsMN) August 15, 2020
He then told a man holding a blue lives matter sign to “take that sign” and “stick it in [his] ass,” Alpha News reported.
Thompson won his primary last week and has received the endorsement of the Minnesota DFL Party, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Rep. Betty McCollum, and Gov. Tim Walz, who had not commented on the matter as of Sunday night.
Martin said the party “does not condone any rhetoric which is violent, hateful, or inflammatory” in a statement released Sunday evening.
“We expect our candidates and elected officials to live up to our highest values when they represent our DFL Party. I cannot speak to or imagine the pain and anguish that John Thompson feels at the loss of his friend, Philando Castile, and the pain that so many Black Minnesotans feel after witnessing the murder of George Floyd. 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 continued.
Around the same time, Thompson released a statement on his Facebook page and apologized for his comments.
“I became an activist and ran for the Legislature to make a difference, to work diligently to fix our broken criminal justice system, dismantle institutional racism, and honor my friend, Philando Castile and become a symbolism of hope within our community,” said Thompson. “I want to make a positive difference, and my comments on Saturday were not helpful. Inflammatory rhetoric is not how I want to address the important issues we’re facing, and I apologize.”
But in a post made on his personal Facebook page Saturday night, Thompson maintained that he was “getting death threats for speaking the truth.”
Republicans across the state condemned Thompson’s behavior and urged Democrats to do the same.
“Over the past few months, we have watched as Democrats have turned a blind eye to arson, looting, toppling of statues and general lawlessness by their supporters. Yesterday, these radical Democrats descended on Hugo, Minnesota and the neighborhood of police union leader Bob Kroll. They harassed the community, and Minnesota DFL candidate John Thompson went as far as to scream ‘F– Hugo’ for all families around to hear,” said Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan.
“This action, and the overall sentiment of today’s Democrats, is reprehensible. Ken Martin, and all Minnesota leaders must speak out and put an end to the dangerous rhetoric and radical actions of their party and leaders,” she added.
Elliott Engen, who is running against Rep. Ami Wazlawik in House District 38B, said Saturday’s events were not a protest, but a “mob led by a future Democrat legislator whose goal was to harass and intimidate someone at their private residence, putting the safety of Hugo residents at risk.”
— Elliott Engen (@elliottengenMN) August 16, 2020
“Speaker [Melissa] Hortman and Rep. Wazlawik need to send a message that this behavior is not acceptable,” he said.
Wazlawik said on Twitter that she appreciated Thompson’s apology “for the unacceptable rhetoric that he used,” but Hortman had not issued any public statement as of Sunday night.