ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A St. Paul police officer apologized Wednesday for a post he made on Facebook urging drivers to run over protesters who rallied against the police killings of two black men in the Twin Cities last year.
In a statement released by the St. Paul Police Federation, Sgt. Jeff Rothecker said he is "extremely sorry" for what he did and understands the post was "insensitive and wrong."
"My poor choice of words conveyed a message I did not intend and am not proud of. Shortly after submitting my post, I re-read and deleted it. As a law enforcement officer, I would never intentionally encourage someone to commit a crime. I very much regret my actions," Rothecker said.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that the message said, "Run them over," and told people how to avoid being charged with a crime if they struck someone during the Martin Luther King Day march and rally on a bridge linking St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Mayor Chris Coleman issued a statement Wednesday saying he continues to be "outraged" by the online comments.
"While an apology is certainly in order, it is not sufficient to repair the trust that has been broken," Coleman said.
The St. Paul Police Department has put Rothecker on leave while it investigates. The police union said it does not agree with the contents of Rothecker's post but represents him and "will ensure that he receives due process."