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St. Paul cop Jeff Rothecker resigns

Jeff Rothecker had a checkered history as a cop, as you can probably imagine from looking at this photo.

Jeff Rothecker had a checkered history as a cop, as you can probably imagine from looking at this photo.

Jeff Rothecker, the St. Paul Police Department veteran who came under fire for Facebook posts telling people to "run over" Black Lives Matter protesters, has resigned from the force, effective Wednesday. 

The department announced news of Rothecker's voluntary exit with a short statement Wednesday afternoon, and said no other information would be available at this time.

Rothecker had been on paid leave since his story went public, and apologized for posting the offensive messages to Facebook in the first place.

Once Rothecker's name entered the public consciousness, progressive activists turned up evidence that posts from "JM Roth" about running over Back Lives Matter Minneapolis protesters blocking the route to the airport were a lot like earlier statements that had said citizens could get away with vehicular homicide.

Rothecker spent 22 years on duty, and had racked up an array of sustained complaints against his police work during that tenure. 

Rothecker's departure was welcomed by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who called the resignation the "quickest and most certain way" to bring the ugly case to an end.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman seemed relieved to have the city's public scandal come to a quick end.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman seemed relieved to have the city's public scandal come to a quick end.

As a union member, Rothecker was entitled to a due process review of his employment with the department. Because that process is protected from public information laws, the city won't be giving out much more information about its investigation into Rothecker's conduct.

But Coleman was free to speak his piece, and did so Wednesday, praising St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith for helping bring a quick resolution to a public scandal. 

"The St. Paul Police Department is one of the finest in the country," Coleman said. "The Department and Chief Smith are absolutely committed to strong relationships with the communities they serve. 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."