Why Do We Tolerate Crime?

I wrote yesterday about the appalling murder–call it what it was–of five young Somali women by a career criminal named Derrick Thompson. Derrick is the son of John Thompson, a former DFL legislator who is best known as an anti-police activist, and who also has a considerable criminal record, largely related to traffic violations.

Derrick Thompson was clocked at 95 to 100 mph on Highway 35W, probably the Twin Cities’ busiest highway. Before the Highway Patrol could pursue him, he exited the highway off a down ramp to Lake Street and immediately ran a red light, essentially vaporizing a car containing the five innocent young women. You almost have to see the video to believe it:

Twin Cities media outlets are focusing on the less than vital question of how that video leaked to the press. That seems to be of more moment, in their eyes, than the five lives that were lost, and the left-wing criminal justice system that made the whole thing possible.

Two of my colleagues, David Zimmer and Bill Glahn, weighed in on the incident today. David addressed the climate of lawlessness in the Twin Cities that has made driving here dangerous:

It’s becoming an almost daily occurrence to read or hear about 100 mph fleeing incidents, deadly crashes, people bailing from moving cars and running across lanes of freeway traffic, offenders intentionally ramming police cars to initiate chases, shots fired at police.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time I’ve written on this topic. Less than a year ago another horrific weekend involving lawlessness on our roadways led to a similar article found here.

Last year I wrote:

It is rare to be on the road in the metro these days without witnessing someone driving aggressively, weaving in and out of lanes, passing others at 20 mph over the speed limit, blowing stop lights, etc.

It is also becoming a daily occurrence that one or more high speed chases occurs in our metro area involving either a carjacking suspect, a wanted fugitive, or just someone who decides to flee the police rather than pull over for a minor violation.

The lawlessness we are experiencing in our neighborhoods is also pervading our roadways. This is a particularly dangerous development, and one that will likely involve more innocent victims the longer it continues.

Prophetic words. David continued:

There are no quick fixes to this breakdown in lawful behavior on our roadways, but certainly a concerted effort by our court system to address it would make a big impact. Far too often a fleeing charge, when part of other crimes charged, gets dropped or sentenced as a concurrent penalty. Motor vehicle theft, reckless driving, and speeding are woefully addressed.

Of course, the stronger law enforcement that David advocated has not taken place. Rather, elected DAs take pride in not prosecuting criminals. The consequences of such insanity are entirely predictable.

Bill Glahn, meanwhile, has been researching the criminal history of young Mr. Thompson. He writes: Five women die in traffic accident. It should have never happened.

Searching the state judicial database for “27-year-old Derrick John Thompson, of Brooklyn Park” produces 13 other results, mostly vehicle-related.

The most recent result was a parking ticket the younger Thompson (or at least his vehicle) received in June 2021 in NE Minneapolis.

You need to go back to June 2018 for the next case in Minnesota, which involved speeding and marijuana possession. A July 2017 case involved fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and presenting a false ID. The original charge involved a felony count, later pled down to a gross misdemeanor.

There were additional marijuana and crack cocaine possession charges dating from December 2016 and May 2015. The 2015 case (for crack cocaine) resulted in a felony conviction.

Gun-related felony charges from January 2014 were pled down to a single misdemeanor conviction. A one-year jail sentence was stayed. One of the dismissed felony charges involved a “Crime committed for Benefit of a Gang.” He was later accused of violating parole in this case by having contact with known gang members, on two separate occasions, for which he served 90 days in jail.

One of those gang members appears to be someone who was later convicted of second-degree murder. A second appears to have been involved in a separate drive-by shooting incident. Neither case involved Thompson.

Thompson’s October 2015 probation violation report notes that he himself is a “Documented gang member.”

The charge he pled guilty to involved the possession of a 9mm Luger with a filed-off serial number.

Later probation violations involved failed drug tests for marijuana and opiates, among other violations.

Another fleeing from police/gun possession case occurred in July 2014.

The other cases involved minor traffic violations.

All of which pale in comparison to his conviction in California in a September 2018 hit and run case. A 2020 headline in the case reads,

Driver in Montecito hit-and-run that put woman in coma sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Montecito is a small beachside town near Santa Barbara, CA. The report from local TV on the 2018 incident continues:

Derrick John Thompson, 23, pleaded guilty to evading an officer, causing injury, leaving the scene of an accident, causing permanent injury and conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale – all felonies.

Indeed, the police found the following in Thompson’s car:

Officers searched the vehicle and found more than 17 pounds of marijuana and over $20,000 in cash.

Thompson was eventually identified as the suspect and was arrested and extradited from Saint Paul, Minnesota. Meanwhile, the woman that was hit by his vehicle fought for her life while in a coma for several weeks.

His 8-year felony conviction appears to have resulted in little prison time, if any. Had authorities in Minnesota and California taken the career of Mr. Thompson more seriously, then 5 young women would still be alive today.

The Star Tribune reports that Thompson’s Minnesota driver’s license was reinstated in March 2023. The New York Post includes video of the weekend accident in its reporting.

The Star Tribune is also reporting that Thompson was driving a 2023 Cadillac Escalade that he rented at the airport just 25 minutes before the collision.

The Star Tribune mentions Thompson’s prior Minnesota driving violations, but makes no mention of any drug or gun-related charges or alleged gang affiliation in Minnesota.

Since we last reported on the senior John Thompson in April 2022, he has accumulated four (4) more traffic convictions and an additional $650 in unpaid court fines.

How does a guy with a long history of drugs, guns, traffic offenses, gang membership, fleeing officers, and nearly killing a woman in a hit and run get his driver’s license back at a time when he supposedly was still sentenced to prison in California?

Minnesota and California are both states that do not take crime seriously. In fact, it is not going too far to suggest that many state and local officials are pro-crime. Derrick Thompson’s father John, the former state representative, doesn’t have as long a rap sheet as his son, but has clearly shown himself to be a recidivist scofflaw. And he is viciously anti-law enforcement. Neither his lawlessness nor his pro-crime positions disqualified him from Minnesota’s legislature. On the contrary, he got the DFL endorsement in his district and Governor Tim Walz said of him:

I’ve known John for years. His fierce advocacy and commitment to his community is exactly what’s needed in the State Legislature right now.

Minnesota has sown the wind, and is now reaping the whirlwind.

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