“Run them over.” That’s the start of a post on the St. Paul Pioneer Press Facebook page directed at Black Lives Matter by a veteran St. Paul police officer that has gone viral and given the police department an undeserved black eye by association. That it has once again stirred emotions and racial tensions between police and communities of color in the Twin Cities and beyond is an understatement, says Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario. St. Paul Sgt. Jeff Rothecker directed his ire at the group’s tactics of blocking and disrupting traffic at airports, bridges and highways in the past 15 months. “Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street,” Rothecker advised.
He goes on to suggest how to make the crime look like an accident and avoid charges. Rothecker was placed on paid leave after a citizen who monitors online police writings and activities saw the post and filed a police complaint. The officer apologized for his “poor choice of words.” He also added that “as a law enforcement officer, I would never intentionally encourage someone to commit a crime. I very much regret my actions.” Rothecker said he deleted the post “shortly” after rereading it. Disclosures that Rothecker posted striklngly similar comments on another site in November throw significant doubt on his “poor choice of words” mea culpa, Rosario says. Rothecker struck a chord with many supporters who took to social media to defend him because he put into words what many people feel about BLM. And I know quite a number of local cops, both black and white, who foam at the mouth at the mention of BLM and its local leadership. Though they understood the anger and frustration, no cops Rosario spoke to defended Rothecker’s post.