ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A St. Paul police officer is on leave while police investigate a Facebook post urging drivers to run over Black Lives Matter protesters.
The post said: “Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the streets.”
“It’s really concerning to me that someone would encourage violence on a day celebrating a man who taught peace,” Andrew Henderson said.
Henderson saw the Facebook post made by J.R. Roth around 1 a.m. Saturday. It referred to Monday’s Black Lives Matter MLK Justice Rally.
“The post said to run over the protesters if they were blocking the road and said how to get away with it and that no jury would convict them,” Henderson said.
He took screen shots of the post and videotaped himself calling St. Paul police to report the post he believed was made by Sgt. Jeff Rothecker, who’s been with the department for more than 20 years.
Henderson also recorded his meeting with internal affairs. He expressed his disgust as he showed investigators why he thinks the person who posted the message is Sgt. Rothecker.
St. Paul police admit they are actively investigating, saying: “The statement is offensive, disappointing, concerning and does not reflect in any way-or align with-the views, values and practices of the Saint Paul Police Department.”
Mayor Chris Coleman said he is outraged and disgusted.
“There is no room in the Saint Paul Police Department for employees who threaten members of the public. If the allegation is true, we will take the strongest possible action allowed under law,” Coleman said.
“A person that has sworn to serve and protect the people should not be encouraging violence on peaceful protesters,” Henderson said.
St. Paul police also said if it’s determined that the comment was written by a member of the department, “swift, strong and decisive disciplinary action will be taken.”
The St. Paul Police Federation represents St. Paul Police officers.
“We know that there is an investigation. We will let the process play out,” Attorney Chris Wachtler said.