ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — As a St. Paul police officer remains on leave, humans rights activists showed up to speak out against what he did. Black Lives Matters supporters gathered this afternoon to address the offense that the officer admitted to.
It all had to do with a Facebook post Sgt. Jeff Rothecker made before Monday’s Black Lives Matter rally on Martin Luther King Day. It encourages people drive into protesters on the bridge and explains how to do so without getting prosecuted.
The officer apologized in a public statement Wednesday.
That apology didn’t mean much to the group that spoke out Friday. They say there are a few things that would help ease the situation.
Rashad Turner is with Black Lives Matter, St. Paul.
“It’s not OK to speak that type of language,” he said. “What you would do to protesters out in public — it’s not OK.”
Rothecker realized that, and released a statement Wednesday:
“I am extremely sorry for posting what I did, I understand that the post was insensitive and wrong. My poor choice of words conveyed a message I did not intend and am not proud of… I apologize to the community members who participated peacefully in the protest.”
At a press conference Friday in St. Paul, Turner said, “We do not accept your apology.”
Turner says they want the officer behind the post terminated and criminal charges filed — but that’s not all.
“We want every investigation that he has contributed to, to be reopened to check for any bias or corruption.” Turner said.
The group also asked that an agreement between the city of St. Paul and the Police Federation be changed — it allows for progressive punishment of officers.
We looked into Sgt. Rothecker’s displine record and found:
- 13 Complaints against him in his career
- Disciplined for 7 of them
- 4 car crashes
- 2 suspensions
One of those suspensions was for not reporting someone had been hurt by an officer, with a supervisor saying he brought “scrutiny to the department.”
“I think its time that career comes to an end,” Turner said.
St. Paul Police say they are continuing to investigate.