The St. Paul Minnesota Police Department has placed an officer on leave while it looks into claims that he has put on Facebook telling drivers to run over protestors who advocated against the police killings of two black men in 2015.
The Facebook post instructed people how to run people over without being charged with a crime if they did it during the Martin Luther King Day march and rally Monday on a bridge linking St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Below is the full text of the Facebook post that one of the police officers in St. Paul noticed before reporting it to the internal affairs department.
“Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street. 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.”
Since then, both the post and the account of the police officer, JM Roth, has been deleted. The police officer who found the page, Andrew Henderson, remarked on his behavior. ‘When I saw that coming from a police officer, a person who is sworn to serve and protect people, it really struck a chord with me.’
The mayor of St. Paul has already stated that he was “outraged and disgusted” by the social media claims, and wants officials to investigate the situation further.
The St. Paul Police Department has released a statement saying that an investigation was happening.
“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 said that this is the first time that he had seen the account promote violence against protestors.
(Photo Credit: Stephen Mauren / Getty Images)