If it was a joke, it was not received as one. A Minnesota police officer is on leave after posting on Facebook that drivers should run over Black Lives Matter protesters, WCCO reported.
The post read: “Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the streets.”
Andrew Henderson saw the post by police officer J.R. Roth at around 1 a.m. Saturday. Roth’s post was in anticipation of Monday’s Black Lives Matter MLK Justice Rally.
“It’s really concerning to me that someone would encourage violence on a day celebrating a man who taught peace,” Henderson said.
Henderson said that the post urged individuals to run protestors over if the were blocking the road and even described how to get away with it so that “no jury would convict them.”
After reading the post, Henderson took a screen shot and videotaped himself calling St. Paul police to report it. He believed the author of the post to be Sgt. Jeff Rothecker, a member of the department for more than 20 years.
Henderson also spoke with internal affairs and recorded the meeting.
He explained to investigators why he thought the person who posted the message was Sgt. Rothecker.
St. Paul police said they are actively investigating the comments.
“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,” authorities said.
“A person that has sworn to serve and protect the people should not be encouraging violence on peaceful protesters,” Henderson said.
Mayor Chris Coleman has also expressed his disgust and outrage at the post.
“There is no room in the Saint Paul Police Department for employees who threaten members of the public,” Coleman said. “If the allegation is true, we will take the strongest possible action allowed under law.”
St. Paul police promised “swift, strong and decisive disciplinary action will be taken” if it’s determined that the comment was written by a member of their department.
“We know that there is an investigation. We will let the process play out,” Attorney Chris Wachtler, a lawyer working with the St. Paul Police Federation said.