A Saint Paul, Minnesota, police officer has resigned over a social media post in which he recommended running over Black Lives Matter protesters, Fusion is reporting.
Sergeant Jeffrey Rothecker tendered his resignation on Wednesday, and the Saint Paul Police Department accepted it, according to a statement issued by the department.
Back in January, Saint Paul-area Black Lives Matter protesters held a rally to protest the deaths of Jamar Clark and Marcus Golden, two black men who were killed by Minneapolis police under questionable circumstances.
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) February 10, 2016
As part of the protest, Black Lives Matter activists stood in the middle of a busy bridge, effectively shutting down traffic on the road.
Local news outlet Pioneer Press covered the protest in an article, which was then shared on Facebook. It was on Facebook that a user, writing under the name “JM Roth,” wrote a lengthy response in which he suggested running over the protesters, and even offered legal advice on how to get away with the crime.
“Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street. Here is the deal, you continue to drive and if you hit someone make sure you call 911 to report the accident and meet the cops a block or two away and you can justify stopping further away because you feared for your safety since in the past people in this group has [sic] shown a propensity towards violence. Since they are trying to block the street and/or cross where there is no crossing you should not be charged with anything. Now, these idiots could try and sue you in civil court, but remember that it will be jury trial and so most likely it will come out in your favor.”
Andrew Henderson, a member of Cop Block — a loosely-organized network of activists who film police and advocate for police accountability — noticed the comment, which has since been deleted. Henderson, piecing together clues found on social media, was able to determine that the “JM Roth” was a pseudonym belonging to Saint Paul officer Jeffrey M. Rothecker, according to the Pioneer Press. He filed a complaint with Internal Affairs, and even posted a video of himself filing the complaint.
News of the Facebook post made its way to Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who called it “disgusting.”
“There is no room in the St. Paul Police Department for employees who threaten members of the public.”
While the Saint Paul Police investigated, Rothecker who is a U.S. Army veteran and the vice president of the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police, was represented by the Saint Paul Police Federation, according to the New York Daily News.
On Wednesday, the Saint Paul Police Department announced Rothecker’s resignation. It is not clear, as of this writing, if Rothecker resigned as an alternative to facing termination. However, as Fusion notes, Rothecker, a 22-year-veteran of the force, will be able to keep his pension benefits.
Rothecker is not the only police officer to find himself in hot water over public statements about the Black Lives Matter movement. In Detroit, for example, a sergeant was placed under investigation for comparing Black Lives Matter activists to the Ku Klux Klan in a Facebook post; and in Ohio, another cop was placed on leave for a social media post celebrating the suicide of a Black Lives Matter activist.
Back in the Twin Cities, Black Lives Matter activists plan to go forward with protests planned for the weekend of February 26 and 27, according to TV station KARE in Minneapolis.
Do you believe the Saint Paul cop deserved to lose his job for suggesting running over Black Lives Matter protesters? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Shutterstock/Tidarat Tiemjai]