A St. Paul police sergeant apologized Wednesday for a Facebook post urging drivers to run over Black Lives Matter marchers.
"I am extremely sorry for posting what I did, I understand that the post was insensitive and wrong. My poor choice of words conveyed a message I did not intend and am not proud of," Sgt. Jeff Rothecker wrote in a statement, which was sent out by a St. Paul Police Federation spokesman.
The sergeant was put on paid administrative leave after police watchdog Andrew Henderson told the police department about a Facebook comment related to a Pioneer Press article. The article was about a march on Martin Luther King Jr. Day calling for justice for men shot and killed by police.
Rothecker's comment, posted under the name "JM Roth," told people to "Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don't slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street."
He went on to describe how one could avoid being charged with a crime if they hit a protester.
The news release sent Wednesday says the St. Paul Police Federation does not agree with or endorse Rothecker's post but will ensure he gets due process. The police and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman also condemned what he wrote.
Coleman said Rothecker's apology is not enough.
"I continue to be outraged by the online comments," Coleman said in a statement. "While an apology is certainly in order, it is not sufficient to repair the trust that has been broken. Beyond that, Minnesota law prevents me from talking about disciplinary action until any employee appeals period is over."
The mayor previously said the city will take the strongest action possible to deal with the sergeant. What that would entail is not clear.
In his apology, Rothecker said he deleted the post shortly after writing it.
"As a law enforcement officer, I would never intentionally encourage someone to commit a crime. I very much regret my actions," he said, adding that he was sorry for the "scornful attention" he has brought upon the police department, law enforcement and his family.
Lastly, he apologized to those who participated in the peaceful protest.
Rothecker has worked in the police department for more than two decades. His personnel file includes 15 complaints filed against him with the department's internal affairs unit. Seven of them were sustained.
Those complaints included driving into a post, improperly accessing private government data and failing to supervise officers properly.