A St. Paul, Minnesota police sergeant is under investigation after allegedly posting a Facebook comment urging drivers to run over Black Lives Matters protesters and keep driving. The comment, since removed, was on a newspaper’s Facebook post about a Black Lives Matter march planned for Martin Luther King Day, which apparently came off without any attempted vehicular manslaughter, despite the cop’s best efforts. Even so, let’s just hope this idea doesn’t spread to crowds at Donald Trump rallies.
The post was discovered Saturday by Andrew Henderson, a Twin Cities activist who regularly videotapes cops to keep ’em honest. Henderson made a 36-minute video documenting his report of the post to the St. Paul Police, if you’re into that sort of thing. Henderson filed a complaint with the department naming Sgt. Jeffrey M. Rothecker as the officer who posted the comment; on the Facebooks, Rothecker allegedly posted as “JM Roth,” said Henderson, who administers a “Minnesota Cop Block” page where “JM Roth” frequently commented. Henderson also told police a “woman whose last name is Rothecker had indicated on Facebook that she’s married to ‘JM Roth,'” according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Here’s “Roth’s” advice on how to run over troublesome protesters and get away with it:
We always take our legal advice from Facebook comments, especially when it comes to attempting to get away with running people down with a car. To his credit, the commenter does at least say you absolutely have to call 911 so you’re not guilty of a hit and run, and as we all know from “stand your ground” cases, virtually any violence against black people can be excused if you yell “I am in fear for my life!” loudly enough. This is even better, since you can stand your ground while seated comfortably in your vehicle. Sadly, “JM Roth” didn’t offer tips for how to get your insurance company to pay for any damage to your vehicle from hitting a scary black person at speed. Best to buy a Hummer just in case.
It looks like the St. Paul PD is at least taking seriously the alleged threat and Henderson’s evidence suggesting that “JM Roth” is Rothecker; Sgt. Rothecker has been placed on leave while the department investigates. Senior Commander Shari Gray, the head of the department’s internal affairs division, said:
This was of grave concern because of the upcoming event and we want to make sure everybody’s safe … If we needed to change tactics or operational security on the event, we needed to do it. And then, two, make sure that if indeed this was one of our officers, that it’s addressed quickly.
Monday, the department issued a statement calling the Facebook comment “offensive, disappointing, concerning and does not reflect in any way — or align with — the views, values and practices of the St. Paul Police Department,” adding that if the investigation determines it actually was posted by a St. Paul PD officer, then “swift, strong and decisive disciplinary action will be taken.” We’re a bit worried that the statement didn’t also refute the purported legal advice, since somewhere out there, some character from a Carl Hiaasen novel is almost certainly saying, “Yeah, but they didn’t say it was bad advice!” and fantasizing about running down some troublemakers with his lifted LandCrusher. Yr Wonkette is not a lawyer, but we’ll go out on a limb and say that’s a very bad idea, especially if you leave notes about it on social media.