Black Lives Matter St. Paul wants the city to fire a St. Paul police sergeant who last month posted a Facebook message encouraging motorists to run over Martin Luther King Jr. Day protesters. If officer Jeffrey Rothecker is not fired, the group said, it will hold a “nonviolent” shutdown of the Red Bull Crashed Ice event in St. Paul later this month.
On Monday, the group issued seven demands, including the termination of Rothecker, who was put on paid administrative leave after the controversial Facebook posting. Rothecker’s post, under the moniker “JM Roth,” urged people to run over marchers who were protesting the deaths of Jamar Clark and Marcus Golden. He wrote that people would likely not be charged for hitting someone if they pulled over and called police afterward. He later apologized for the post.
“We are not surprised that Jeffrey Rothecker is still on paid administrative leave, but we find it detestable that he still holds the title of St. Paul Police officer and continues to represent this institution,” the group said on its Facebook page.
Black Lives Matter said it will gather at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Cathedral of St. Paul, epicenter of the popular winter spectacle that draws more than 100,000 people to ice-skating races down a long twisting and turning track.
Among its demands, the group also said Rothecker should be stripped of his license to be a peace officer and that criminal charges should be filed against him. All cases he was involved in should be reinvestigated, the group said.
“It’s time to bring our voices together as a people and let the gatekeepers of white supremacy know that it’s social justice time and officer Rothecker needs to be fired and criminally prosecuted,” the statement said.
The statement also took aim at Gov. Mark Dayton: “Governor Dayton, you are a white supremacist, you have no problem calling us domestic terrorists and saying we are inappropriate, but have yet to open your big mouth against a fellow white supremacist who was inappropriate and has admitted to criminal offenses.”
The demands include that Dayton issue an executive order barring the grand jury process in police-involved killings and assaults, and that the U.S. Department of Justice reopen the case of Golden, who was shot and killed last year by St. Paul police.
They also want an appointed police officer certification board to “include black and brown people who reflect the communities with the most disparities in the criminal justice system” and the elimination of the progressive discipline policy in the police collective bargaining agreement.