The St. Paul, Minn., chapter of Black Lives Matter on Friday called for authorities to criminally charge the police sergeant who posted the “Run them over” message on social media, the Pioneer Press reports.
Sgt. Jeffrey Rothecker apologized Wednesday for his post, which appeared ahead of a planned demonstration that blocked traffic on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
His post stated: “Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street.” Rothecker then explains to drivers how to avoid being charged for striking a demonstrator.
The sergeant is now on paid administrative leave. But the local Black Lives Matter chapter said that his punishment must go further.
At Friday’s news conference, Trahern Crews said that Rothecker’s comments go beyond being hateful and constitute a crime under the state’s terroristic threats statute.
“His admission, although not heartfelt … is an admission of guilt, and we expect [the] city attorney … to proceed with criminal charges. … It’s ridiculous to think that this guy is on paid administrative leave after admitting to terroristic threats,” Crews said.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said he’s “outraged and disgusted by the post,” and he vowed to “take the strongest possible action allowed under law,” according to the Pioneer Press.
His spokeswoman, Tonya Tennessen, said that an internal investigation is under way and that criminal charges are possible.
The process, however, could be lengthy. State law and the city’s contract with the police union dictate the punishment and appeal process.
While the St. Paul Police Federation condemned what Rothecker’s post “seems to suggest,” the organization is representing him and vows to protect his due process rights.