ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A St. Paul officer has resigned a month after a Facebook post he made urged drivers to run over protesters who rallied against the police killings of two black men in the Twin Cities last year, the Police Department said Wednesday.
The department said in a news release that Sgt. Jeff Rothecker has left the police force, effective immediately. It said no additional details were available.
Rothecker, who apologized days after the post, was put on leave while the department investigated.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said he was pleased Police Chief Thomas Smith accepted Rothecker's resignation and that the officer is no longer a member of the department. Rothecker had been a St. Paul officer for more than two decades.
"I believe it was the quickest and most certain way to reach a final outcome," Coleman said in a statement. "The actions Mr. Rothecker admits he engaged in were disgusting, harmful and out of step with the values of the Department and the community it serves."
The mayor said state privacy law prohibits the city from commenting about the Police Department's investigation or Rothecker's reason for resigning.
"Run them over," Rothecker told motorists in his social media post. He also explained how they could 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, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The St. Paul Police Federation released a statement from Rothecker days after the post in which he apologized, saying he was "extremely sorry" for what he did and understood it was "insensitive and wrong."
"My poor choice of words conveyed a message I did not intend and am not proud of," he said. "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."
Black Lives Matter St. Paul lead organizer Rashad Turner told the Star Tribune that the group will comment on Rothecker's resignation on Thursday. The group had said it would disrupt the popular Red Bull Crashed Ice event Feb. 27 in St. Paul if Rothecker was not fired. Turner said they still plan to protest the ice skating race that draws thousands of spectators.