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Police say cop who told drivers to run over protesters has resigned

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MLK Day protest
Sgt. Jeffrey Rothecker admitted he posted comments on an online news story, urging drivers to run over protesters during this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day rally.
Kyle Potter | AP

Updated: 9:30 p.m. | Posted: 5:07 p.m.

The St. Paul police department says an officer under investigation for a controversial Facebook post has resigned, effective immediately.

Sgt. Jeffrey Rothecker admitted he was the one who'd posted comments on an online news story, urging drivers to run over protesters during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march. It described how a driver could hit pedestrians and avoid criminal charges.

The department put Rothecker on leave. He'd been with the department for more than 20 years. Rothecker apologized and the comment was deleted, but his remarks drew condemnation from Mayor Chris Coleman.  

The Facebook post was "very irresponsible, very dangerous, and it just shouldn't be tolerated in our community by those who are hired to protect and serve," Turner said.  

The group had said it would disrupt the popular Red Bull Crashed Ice event Feb. 27 in St. Paul if Rothecker was not fired. Turner said they still plan to protest the ice skating race that draws thousands of spectators. 

Coleman said in a statement he was "pleased that Chief Smith has accepted the resignation of Mr. Rothecker and that he is no longer a member of the Saint Paul Police Department. I believe it was the quickest and most certain way to reach a final outcome."

The city and police department wouldn't elaborate on the investigation into Rothecker's remarks or the circumstances of his resignation.

Attorney for the St. Paul Police Federation Christopher Wachtler declined to comment on the investigation into Rothecker's actions. But he said Rothecker is "apologetic for the damage that his words caused."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.