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Bodycam Footage Ruins State Rep's Claim He Was Pulled Over for 'Driving While Black'

Western Journal

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Minnesota state Rep. John Thompson insisted he was pulled over for “driving while black” and used the incident as a political rallying cry — the only problem is, the officer’s body camera footage tells a different story.

The incident in the early hours of July 4 during a routine traffic stop in St. Paul, when an unnamed police sergeant pulled the Democratic lawmaker over after observing that he had no front license plate and was driving at a high speed, according to Fox News.

The officer found Thompson was using a Wisconsin driver’s license, which had been suspended for failure to pay child support, according to WCCO-TV in Minneapolis.

Thompson, who was elected in November and took office in January, has never had a Minnesota driver’s license, WCCO reported.

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To make matters even more questionable, the address Thompson gave when receiving the ticket is not in the district he represents, WCCO reported. Under Minnesota law, the state’s lawmakers are required to “have maintained residence in the district from which the candidate seeks election for 30 days before the general election.”

Still, Johnson decided to milk this otherwise uneventful stop into fuel for the racial-strife furnace during a rally for Philando Castile, a black man who was shot by a police officer during a July 6, 2016, traffic stop. The officer involved was charged with second-degree manslaughter but was acquitted, CNN reported at the time.

“We’re still getting ‘driving while black’ tickets in this state and, in fact, in St. Paul,” Thompson said during a demonstration in front of the governor’s residence on the fifth anniversary of the shooting, according to KSTP-TV.

“So let’s just call it what it is, right…I shouldn’t have to be profiled, so this is ridiculous. Oh, and by the way, it was a sergeant here in St. Paul, by the way. We promote bad behavior.”

It’s too bad for Thompson that Todd Axtell, the St. Paul chief of police, has a backbone. Axtell demanded an apology from the lawmaker and later released the body camera footage to put the lie to rest once and for all.

“These aren’t accusations I take lightly, so I looked into the traffic stop, watched the body camera footage and spoke to the sergeant,” Axtell wrote in a Facebook post published Friday.

“Simply put, the traffic stop was by the books,” he wrote. “What happened afterwards was anything but.

“I’m dismayed and disappointed by the state representative’s response to the stop. Rather than taking responsibility for his own decisions and actions, he attempted to deflect, cast aspersions and deny any wrongdoing.”

The police chief wrote that the department’s officers strive “to be fair, to treat everyone with respect and to lead by example” while fulfilling their duties, drawing a subtle contrast to the way Thompson handled himself.

“We also take responsibility for our actions. When we make mistakes, we own them and try to fix them. It’s what our community expects of its public servants.

“The driver, an elected official who does not dispute driving without a front license plate, owes our sergeant an apology,” Axtell concluded.

But more compelling than Axtell’s words was the footage from the officer’s body camera that was released Tuesday and posted to Facebook by KMSP-TV.

In it, a combative Thompson can be seen making the accusation that his traffic stop was racially motivated despite the fact that the officer clearly stated his two valid reasons for pulling him over — the missing plate on the front of the vehicle required by Minnesota law, and Thompson’s speed.

The video is below. Most of it is made up of the sergeant sitting in the police vehicle waiting for records checks. Thompson’s “driving while black” accusations start when he returns to Thompson’s vehicle at about the 15-minute mark.

“Why in such a hurry?” the officer can be heard asking the lawmaker once the audio is turned, on about 30 seconds into the footage.

“I don’t think I took off like a bat out of hell, I just drove off,” Thompson replied. He also twice mentioned that he was a state representative as the officer returned to his vehicle.

The officer returned sometime later with the citation, and that’s when the Democratic lawmaker hurled his accusations at the officer.

“I’m too old to run from the police, man,” Thompson said to contest the speeding charge.

“You profiled me because you looked me dead in the face and I got a ticket for driving while black,” he insisted. “You pulled me over because you saw a black face in this car, brother. There’s no way in hell I’m taking off with you behind me.

“You looked in this car, you looked in this car and busted a U-turn and got behind my car, and that’s the reason,” he later continued as the officer explained that this was all being caught on camera.

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“But what I’m saying is, what you’re doing is wrong, to black men,” Thompson said. “And you need to stop that. Thank you so much, but this ticket means nothing to me,” he said.

“What I’m saying to you is stop racially profiling black men in their cars sir,” he later added. “Stop doing that.”

The footage also demonstrated how the officer calmly explained the offenses and didn’t engage much, despite Thompson’s goading.

Thompson has yet to apologize, but that seems like a remote possibility coming from this Democratic lawmaker who has a history of anti-cop, racially charged rhetoric.

In August of last year, he made headlines leading a demonstration in the Minneapolis suburb of Hugo, outside the home of Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union representing the city’s embattled police.

“Don’t run now. Don’t run now, racist white people. I’m here!” he shouted at the end of an expletive-laced rant, while women and children in the neighborhood looked on.

There appears to be zero evidence for Thompson’s claim of racial profiling based on the footage and, to his credit, the sergeant showed great restraint when confronted with such accusations. Even his courtesy in apologizing for how long the license check took makes it clear there was no racial animus on his end of the interaction.

Still, this incident reveals how Thompson has no problem assuming the worst about police.

Led by his fellow Democrats who insist that America is systemically racist, every incident is viewed only through that lens — a practice that ultimately makes him and others like him blind to the complex reality of the world.

While it’s political power the left is after with the lie, the real-life consequence is that people like Thompson walk around with a huge chip on their shoulder that creates an impenetrable, iron-clad narrative in their minds.

But any time people believe one single factor can account for all their misfortune — whether it’s race, a disability, a physical attribute, or anything else — it robs them of the chance to take responsibility and change their circumstances.

Thompson probably won’t apologize, an probably won’t stop arguing he was just a victim of another racist cop — but the video evidence doesn’t lie.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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WHO Appears to Give China a Huge Gift with New Variant, Skips ‘Xi’ Letter of Greek Alphabet When Naming It

Western Journal

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The World Health Organization on Friday skipped over two letters of the Greek alphabet when it named the latest COVID variant.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas promptly reminded his Twitter followers that the international health body with close ties to the communist Chinese government should be eyed with suspicion.

The omicron variant was announced this week by the WHO as having been discovered in South Africa.

The variant initially was called B.1.1.529, but the WHO now has given it a name from the Greek alphabet, as has happened throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO says the variant has the potential to evade COVID antibodies.

Two letters were skipped to name the variant, however, and one of them was suspicious for people who view the WHO as being loyal to China’s authoritarian regime.

Sequentially, the next two Greek letters available were passed on.

“Nu” was not chosen as a name for the South African variant, as it sounds too much like “new” in English. No explanation was offered as to why the next available letter was not chosen.

Instead of calling B.1.1.529 the “xi variant,” omicron — the next letter in the Greek alphabet — was picked.

Xi is part of the name of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who has unilaterally run China and its military since 2013.

Paul Nuki, an editor with The Telegraph, pointed out the odd inconsistency of variant naming on Twitter.

“A WHO source confirmed the letters Nu and Xi of the Greek alphabet had been deliberately avoided. Nu had been skipped to avoid confusion with the word ‘new’ and Xi had been skipped to ‘avoid stigmatising a region,’” Nuki tweeted. “All pandemics inherently political!”

Cruz shared the tweet with a comment of his own.

“If the WHO is this scared of the Chinese Communist Party, how can they be trusted to call them out the next time they’re trying to cover up a catastrophic global pandemic?” he asked his followers.

Omicron becomes the fifth variant to be designated an area of concern by the World Health Organization, according to the New York Post. The other designations are alpha, beta, gamma and delta.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

The World Health Organization on Friday skipped over two letters of the Greek alphabet when it named the latest COVID variant. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas promptly reminded his Twitter followers that the international health body with close ties to the communist Chinese government should be eyed with suspicion. The omicron variant was announced this week by the WHO as having been discovered in South Africa. The variant initially was called B.1.1.529, but the WHO now has given it a name from the Greek alphabet, as has happened throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO says the variant has the potential to evade COVID antibodies. BREAKING: The #B11529 variant has been allocated the Greek name Omicron by the WHO and has been designated a variant of concern. pic.twitter.com/1Zie1tnyXN — Mia Malan (@miamalan) November 26, 2021 Two letters were skipped to name the variant, however, and one of them was suspicious for people who view the WHO as being loyal to China’s authoritarian regime. Sequentially, the next two Greek letters available were passed on. News of new Nu variant, but WHO is jumping the alphabet to call it Omicron, so they can avoid Xi. pic.twitter.com/UJ4xMwg52i — Martin Kulldorff (@MartinKulldorff) November 26, 2021 “Nu” was not chosen as a name for the South African variant, as it sounds too much like “new” in English. No explanation was offered as to why the next available letter was not chosen. Instead of calling B.1.1.529 the “xi variant,” omicron — the next letter in the Greek alphabet — was picked. Xi is part of the name of China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who has unilaterally run China and its military since 2013. Paul Nuki, an editor with The Telegraph, pointed out the odd inconsistency of variant naming on Twitter. “A WHO source confirmed the letters Nu…

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Seth Rogen Laughs Off Someone Else’s Theft in Los Angeles: ‘It’s Called Living in a Big City’

Western Journal

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My uncle was a surgeon in New York City during the bad old pre-Giuliani 1990s days. He would tell me a story of one of his interns who — back in the days when car stereos were a popular item to steal — had his window smashed and his CD player lifted three or four times.

He finally gave up and put a sign in his window: “No stereo.” He came out after an overnight shift to find the window smashed anyway. “Get a stereo,” the note inside read.

Apocryphal? Perhaps, although I know my uncle was looking to move back to Los Angeles at the time, having had enough of New York City life. He eventually made it back there, although not to Los Angeles proper.

That’s probably a good thing because, to hear actor Seth Rogen tell it, getting your car broken into is just part of the fun of living in Los Angeles. Sometimes they’ll even leave a knife behind, he said! That’s even better than a “get a stereo” note!

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In a Thanksgiving Eve Twitter thread that proved Hollywood celebs inhabit a different solar system than we do, Rogen threw shade on a YouTuber angry his car had gotten broken into, saying, “It’s called living in a big city.”

The whole thing started when vlogger and influencer Casey Neistat — who, in all fairness, isn’t the William F. Buckley of Twitter — described getting his car broken into: “so our cars got robbed this morning because Los Angeles is a crime riddled 3rd world s***hole of a city but tremendous appreciation and gratitude to the hardworking officers at the @LAPDWestLA who not only arrested the motherf****r but they got all of our stolen goods back.”

Thanks for the update, I guess.

Rogen — star of “Knocked Up,” “The Interview” and pretty much any movie where they need a stoner type who’ll method-act — felt compelled to defend his fair city: “Dude I’ve lived here for over 20 years. You’re nuts haha. It’s lovely here. Don’t leave anything valuable in it. It’s called living in a big city,” Rogen tweeted.

“i can still be mad tho right? feel so violated,” Neistat responded.

“You can be mad but I guess I don’t personally view my car as an extension of myself and I’ve never really felt violated any of the 15 or so times my car was broken in to,” Rogen tweeted.

“Once a guy accidentally left a cool knife in my car so if it keeps happening you might get a little treat.”

“i didn’t get any treats. he just took the decorations for my daughters 7th birthday party and left bloody hand prints. serious question; how did you get your car broken into 15 times?” Neistat said, to which Rogen responded that he’d “lived in West Hollywood for 20 years and parked on the street.”

By this point, however, people weren’t quite as interested in the sub-Socratic dialogue between Neistat and Rogen and more curious about why a mega-millionaire was telling another person (who probably isn’t lacking for money himself, but that’s not the point) to laugh off theft as if it’s a hee-larious part of living in La-La Land.

“When people talk about celebrities being disconnected from the reality of normal people, this is what they are talking about,” user @DBCWriter wrote.

“Defending the quality of life in your city by referencing the 15 times your car was broken into and the possibility that you may get a free weapon left by a criminal, is not the defense you think it is,” tweeted writer and educator Joel Petlin. “Nobody should accept lawlessness. Not celebrities like @Sethrogen or anyone.”

The Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, meanwhile, chimed in a definition that Rogen should become acquainted with:

Attorney Matt Bilinsky called him “an insufferable twit with not the slightest sense of reality nor instinct of good faith.”

“Only a person of low character such as yourself would smugly dismiss people’s (very valid) concerns about the current state of crime & public safety in Los Angeles,” Bilinsky said.

Rogen doesn’t seem to care how self-defeating this all sounds: “A lot of people come at me and talk s*** on Twitter hoping I’ll engage with them publicly and give them attention, but instead I DM them and tell them to go f*** themselves privately. It’s a lot more fun,” he tweeted in the aftermath of the kerfuffle. (He purportedly did this with Bilinsky; the attorney posted screenshots of DMs from Rogen saying “no clue who you are but I came across this and I kindly invite you to go f*** yourself. Haha now I’m reading your IG posts and I see who you are.”)

Is Hollywood out of touch?

There’s a wider lesson here besides an object lesson in the dangers of marijuana use. Since he first appeared on the TV show “Freaks and Geeks” in 1999 at the age of 16, Rogen has been a well-paid cog in the Hollywood machine, no matter how many times he’s left his car out on the street to be robbed in West Hollywood. Most of us wouldn’t be happy to get a knife out of the deal.

Rogen is among the lucky few who get to insulate themselves against the realities of the city going on around them, either because they have the money to afford setbacks or the money to afford ample security. Unlike in Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities,” these Sherman McCoys aren’t going to make a wrong turn and suddenly be hit with the grim realities that can befall those who don’t have the money to wall themselves off against the world.

For those not making millions in the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is an expensive city in an expensive state. When one of L.A.’s richer residents tells us we should expect property crime as part of the charm of “living in a big city,” it’s little wonder why California residents are leaving the state at a massive clip. For those who haven’t abandoned the Golden State yet, perhaps they should consider Seth Rogen’s tweet their own personal “get a stereo” note.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

My uncle was a surgeon in New York City during the bad old pre-Giuliani 1990s days. He would tell me a story of one of his interns who — back in the days when car stereos were a popular item to steal — had his window smashed and his CD player lifted three or four times. He finally gave up and put a sign in his window: “No stereo.” He came out after an overnight shift to find the window smashed anyway. “Get a stereo,” the note inside read. Apocryphal? Perhaps, although I know my uncle was looking to move back to Los Angeles at the time, having had enough of New York City life. He eventually made it back there, although not to Los Angeles proper. That’s probably a good thing because, to hear actor Seth Rogen tell it, getting your car broken into is just part of the fun of living in Los Angeles. Sometimes they’ll even leave a knife behind, he said! That’s even better than a “get a stereo” note! In a Thanksgiving Eve Twitter thread that proved Hollywood celebs inhabit a different solar system than we do, Rogen threw shade on a YouTuber angry his car had gotten broken into, saying, “It’s called living in a big city.” The whole thing started when vlogger and influencer Casey Neistat — who, in all fairness, isn’t the William F. Buckley of Twitter — described getting his car broken into: “so our cars got robbed this morning because Los Angeles is a crime riddled 3rd world s***hole of a city but tremendous appreciation and gratitude to the hardworking officers at the @LAPDWestLA who not only arrested the motherf****r but they got all of our stolen goods back.” Thanks for the update, I guess. Rogen — star of “Knocked…

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