Minnesotans grapple with John Thompson abuse allegations

Asma Mohammed wasn’t sure what to think about the domestic violence allegations against Representative John Thompson. But she knew they made her feel uncomfortable.

“I believe survivors every single time,” she said. “And I also know Black men are being held to a different standard. And I think John Thompson is being held to a standard we would not expect of anyone else.”

As the advocacy director for Muslim women at Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment, a Minnesota nonprofit, Mohammed is close to the movement for racial justice. She’s also a sexual violence survivor and advocate. Since she’s currently on maternity leave, she hasn’t been following the news as closely as usual.

And the news story about Thompson had grown harder to follow by the day. Thompson (DFL–St. Paul), who is Black, was pulled over on July 4 for a missing front license plate. He accused the police officer of racially profiling him. The officer discovered that Thompson’s driving privileges were suspended in Minnesota for allegedly failing to pay child support—and that although he is a Minnesota state representative, he carried a Wisconsin driver’s license, last renewed in November 2020.