Think twice before you post online

We should take a police officer’s unwise and offensive social media post much more seriously.

Keelia Moeller

About 100 protesters gathered for a Black Lives Matter protest on Martin Luther King Day to peacefully draw attention to the recent deaths of Marcus Golden and Jamar Clark, who were both fatally shot by police officers in 2015.
 
 
A St. Paul police officer’s Facebook post has shattered this peace. Sgt. Jeff Rothecker encouraged drivers to run over protesters during their march, and he also wrote that any protesters who sued a driver for hitting them would probably lose in a jury trial.
 
 
Rothecker was put on leave, and he administered a public apology for his post. He says he deleted it just after rereading, claiming his phrasing was just a “poor choice of words.”
 
 
However, a public apology is not enough to repair the broken trust between the people of Minnesota and a police officer who is supposed to protect them.
 
 
Using private social media posts to attack someone’s career is somewhat controversial, but I don’t believe this case crosses any lines. 
 
 
This is because the idea of “running over” a group of peaceful protesters conflicts drastically with Rothecker’s career choice. I believe this post should be enough to end his career as an officer, or at least to suspend him from duty for a long period of time. 
 
 
This is not just an office worker lashing out or a chef complaining about a bad critic. Rather, the police officer behind this violent social media post is paid to eliminate the exact kind of violence he is posting about. 
 
 
Social media posts tend to reflect what someone truly thinks. In cases where your thoughts oppose the job you’re paid to do, you’d better think twice before you post. 
 
Keelia Moeller  welcomes comments at  [email protected].