A second Rochester police employee is on leave, and independent investigators have been brought in to lead a probe into an officer's Facebook posts.
The police department is investigating a report of potentially offensive posts by Officer Ben Schlag, who one group says shared racist and anti-Muslim posts.
Schlag was placed on administrative leave while the claims are investigated. The police department confirmed his leave was over Facebook posts, but declined to offer further detail.
And ABC 6 is now reporting that another employee – the department's professional standards manager Scott Hildebrand – has also been placed on leave.
After the department launched its internal investigation, Chief Roger Peterson told the TV station, it became aware of information that "compromises our ability to provide a full, fair and impartial inquiry into this matter."
What exactly that is wasn't disclosed.
The Post Bulletin reports the professional standards manager is a civilian member who investigates complaints against officers. A potential conflict of interest arose and Hildebrand was placed on leave last week "to ensure the integrity of the investigation."
The department is therefore turning the matter over to an independent firm to investigate, which will be selected by the city's human resources department, the newspaper notes.
The posts under investigation
It was reported earlier this week that the group Rochester for Justice notified police about Schlag’s posts, saying he has shared a "litany of anti-Muslim and racist posts," including some that appear to support "shooting radical Muslims in the face" and running over protesters.
The group provided screenshots of some of the posts – they include references to Black Lives Matter, police protesters, and the Middle East.
A police officer in St. Paul recently resigned after making posts on Facebook encouraging people to run over those taking part in a demonstration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as well as suggesting ways they could get away with it.