The St. Paul, Minnesota Police Department has placed a sergeant on administrative leave after he allegedly told drivers to run over Black Lives Matter protesters during a demonstration Monday.
Demonstrators took to the streets on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day to call for justice in the deaths of two Black men who were killed by police last year.
The offending Facebook post from a “JM Roth” was deleted, as was the account, but not before Andrew Henderson — a member of the cop-watching group, Minnesota Cop Block — came across the comment and filed an internal affairs complaint against Sgt. Jeffrey M. Rothecker, the Huffington Post reports.
“Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street,” the post read. It continued:
“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 shown [sic] 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.”
The department is currently investigating the incident. Via Fox 9:
“I am outraged and disgusted by the post and have directed the SPPD to investigate,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement Monday. “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.”
The St. Paul Police Department released this statement to their Facebook followers Monday, promising a thorough investigation:
We are aware of the concerns surrounding the comment posted on Facebook and are actively investigating. 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.
The entire department, starting with Chief Thomas Smith, has worked tirelessly to develop partnerships throughout the community, and we have a long history of supporting individuals and groups who wish to express their opinions. There is no tolerance within the department for employees who insult, threaten or attempt to silence those exercising their First Amendment rights.
Henderson, who said the JM Roth account has left comments on the Minnesota Cop Block Facebook page before, says this is the first time he saw the account promote violence against protesters.