St. Paul officer accused of urging drivers to run over Black Lives Matter protesters

MinnPost photo by Brent Moore
Protesters walking across the Lake St. bridge during Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day march.

Says Chao Xiong in the Star Tribune, “A St. Paul police officer is on administrative leave in connection with a Facebook post urging drivers to run over marchers on Martin Luther King Day. Sgt. Jeff Rothecker was identified by Andrew Henderson, a community activist who monitors police behavior. Henderson alleged in a YouTube video that Rothecker, who posted under the name ‘JM Roth,’ wrote the comment under a Pioneer Press article about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in St. Paul. ‘Run them over,’ the Facebook comment said. ‘Keep traffic flowing and don’t slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street.'” 

In the Pioneer Press, Mara Gottfried reports, “Rothecker could not be reached for comment Monday. The St. Paul Police Federation, the union for St. Paul officers, is representing Rothecker. Chris Wachtler, the union’s attorney, said in a statement Monday, ‘There is an investigation under way. We will let the process play out. I can’t comment on an active investigation until it is complete.’ On Monday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman issued a statement saying he is ‘outraged and disgusted by the post and (I) have directed the SPPD to investigate.'”

We’re  No. 50! List factory says (via WCCO-TV): “Minnesota lags behind all other states in the country for racial integration and racial progress, according to a new report. The personal finance website … ranked all 50 states and D.C. on integration levels of whites and blacks. Minnesota ranked among the worst for racial gaps in these categories:

– Median Annual Income (50th)

– Homeownership Rate (50th)

– Poverty Rate (49th)

– Percentage of Residents with at Least a High School Degree (51st)

– NAEP Test Scores (MN Ranked 44th)

– Voter-Turnout Rate: Full Weight (30th)

For racial progress, Minnesota didn’t do much better. The state ranked 50th with Maine being the worst.”

We’re No. 1 … again! KMSP-TV’s Rachel Chazin reports, “The University of Minnesota Dance Team took home their 7th consecutive national championship on Sunday for their pom routine. The team has won 1st place in Division 1A Pom every year since the category was created in 2009. … Minnesota’s dance team is also 9-time National Champions in the Division 1A Jazz category. They placed 2nd this year with a powerful jazz routine choreographed to the song ‘Glory’ from the film Selma.”

Another reason to never subject the kiddies to nature and quiet. Kristen Leigh Painter of the Strib tells us, “A Minnesota development group and Sony Pictures Consumer Products are teaming up to build a Hollywood-themed family destination that is to include a mini indoor amusement park — filled with activities and experiences based on Sony’s movie characters and themes such as ‘Smurfs’ and ‘Men in Black.’ It also will include a Marriott hotel and a large indoor water park. The project, estimated to cost $115 million and create 2,000 jobs in Minnesota, has initial support from elected officials, including Albertville Mayor Jillian Hendrickson and Gov. Mark Dayton.”

Interesting piece from Richard Chin in the PiPress on a more or less professional searcher. “Deanna Villella has had a mission to find missing people ever since her brother disappeared in August 2014. The fragmentary remains of Christopher Rossing, Villella’s 25-year-old brother, eventually were found in a fire pit on a farm near Hutchinson in October 2014. He died by homicide. But even after a Hutchinson man was convicted and sentenced in that case, Villella has continued to be a searcher, quitting her job in Las Vegas and moving back to Minnesota to set up a nonprofit group, United Legacy, that organizes volunteers to do ground searches for people missing in Minnesota.”

Dang but this Lake Elmo City Council is entertaining. In the PiPress, Bob Shaw tells us, “The Washington County sheriff’s office has been asked to find out who leaked a confidential report that called the Lake Elmo City Council ‘dysfunctional.’ The report was given to the Stillwater Gazette, which used it as the basis of a front-page story Friday. The newspaper said the report was written by a lawyer hired by the city to investigate a personnel complaint. The report found no basis for that complaint, but it did say council member Anne Smith was largely to blame for City Hall’s failure to operate smoothly.

She likes our refinance plan. Says Allison Sherry for the Strib, “Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on Monday lauded Minnesota’s new student loan refinancing program unveiled last week. Under the program, administered by the state’s Office of Higher Education, a borrower who owes $40,000 at an 8 percent, or higher, interest rate, the new refinancing option could lower monthly payments between $200 and $300. … In a statement Monday, Clinton said: ‘I applaud Minnesota for taking bold steps towards ensuring that debt won’t hold Minnesotans back. If you can refinance your mortgage or your car loan, you should be able to refinance your student loan, too.'”

Did they write him a ticket, too? Jacob Tellers of the Fergus Falls Journal reports, “An Otter Tail County judge dismissed a lawsuit against two Fergus Falls police officers accused of wrongfully detaining a man and preventing him from witnessing the birth of his child. Dennis Fronning of Battle Lake filed a lawsuit in 2014 against Officer Robb Foreman, Sgt. Andrew Miller, the Fergus Falls Police Department and the City of Fergus Falls claiming he had been wrongfully detained — once while he was on the way to the hospital with his pregnant wife and again at the hospital.”

Exactly what the world needs most right now. Says the AP, “Connie Weigel spent six years searching for a compostable, stemless wine glass. The director of purchasing for the catering company that serves the Minneapolis Convention Center finally found the perfect product in August. That’s when Weigel saw a video featuring a champagne flute made by SelfEco, a Stillwater-based company that makes high-end industrial compostable dinnerware and flatware. ‘It was, like, oh my gosh, where have you been?’ said Weigel, who works for Kelber Catering. ‘I’d been looking for a compostable wine glass since 2009 — that’s when we went green over here in the convention center.’”

Good connecting-the-dots effort from Sally Jo Sorensen on her Bluestem Prairie blog. “Bluestem had heard rumors that an anti-Muslim speaker had appeared at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake in Brainerd on Saturday, January 9, 2016, but only learned that it was John Guandolo while we were working on our last post … . Understanding the Threat is a webpage kept by John Guandolo. The event marked the second occasion within a week that an anti-Muslim speaker appeared in the Brainerd area. The first was California Minuteman Ron Branstner in Baxter that Tuesday.” You never know, though, there might an “existential threat” to our resort areas.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/19/2016 - 08:19 am.

    We’re #50!

    I can’t help but wonder about the credibility of “” as a source of information about racial politics and integration, but if it’s anywhere close to being accurate, Minnesota has much to be embarrassed about – and ashamed of. If the rankings have a basis in fact, it does much to destroy the state’s reputation as being “progressive.“

    • Submitted by John N. Finn on 01/19/2016 - 10:40 am.

      If accurate…

      …about income disparities, I wonder how much could be due to immigration, either foreign or domestic? For instance, families from Somalia probably didn’t arrive with much financial capital or ability to initially obtain lucrative employment. Do they skew the survey results? How about others that have relocated to escape from poverty in U.S. cities but without past employment experience that would qualify for higher paying jobs here than what they may or not have had previously?

      I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to remedy this, just wondering if the survey is comparing apples to oranges and making Minnesota look less “progressive” than it is.

      • Submitted by Richard Callahan on 01/19/2016 - 12:28 pm.

        I agree

        I’d be more interested in disparity data that only counted residents of Minnesota who’ve been here a few years. The huge Twin City influx of immigrants has to skew the data. It’s hard to take surveys like this seriously.

    • Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 01/19/2016 - 01:24 pm.

      When I moved to MN from IA

      I was shocked by how — despite how much more progressive MN was — how much racism was tolerated here.

      But I’m more shocked at the media’s negligence when it reports these numbers. They never ever mention the forced eviction of poor people with criminal records from Chicago public housing, how those people were put on buses and how WI refused to let them get off those buses.

      Our shameful legacy of slavery and Jim Crow has never ended. Chicago’s jobless were shipped to MN just as MN Republicans put an end to job training programs and support for families. Increased crime was the direct result, and racism in MN just got worse.

      When the Strib runs a five-part series on how Chicago skewed MN’s racial and economic demographics, then we can have this discussion. Until then, hardly anyone seems to understand why all this is happening. And yes, MN could be doing much, much more but the politics of hate and division put an end to effective governance.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/19/2016 - 08:57 am.

    Looks Like there are Good Reasons to Stay Away

    from the Brainerd Lakes area,…

    but they have nothing to do with any Muslims or other “terrorists” you might find there,…

    who don’t exist of course,…

    except in the dysfunctional psyches and toxified gut instincts of people who would sponsor,…

    and attend events where Ron Branstner and John Guandolo were speaking.

  3. Submitted by Moira Heffron on 01/19/2016 - 12:20 pm.

    Apples to oranges

    There are a great many things to be concerned about in the area of racial disparities and justice in Minnesota and elsewhere. I was unimpressed by this report, however, and didn’t feel it shone much light on anything. I tried to dig into a few areas and found, as John Finn points out, that it was unclear what populations were actually being examined in some instances. Take a look at breakdown of NAEP scores, for example. Doesn’t mean some serious work doesn’t need to be done.

  4. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 01/19/2016 - 05:51 pm.

    racial disparities

    I don’t know who or what Wallethub is, but I have read these statistics and read them and read them from a variety of sources and I do not doubt them. Taking issue with them seems to be one way of trying to evade the truth of them.
    They are true and this sort of skepticism only makes white people feel better — can’t be true, we’re progressive Minnesotans. Nope, not any more. Not for 20 or more years. Lots of reasons for that but we have to look to ourselves to solve the problems. It’s a “white” problem, not a black one (I’m white, by the way. The more I learn the more I believe these statistics.

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