Rochester police officer on leave over reported Facebook posts


A Rochester police officer was placed on administrative leave over Facebook posts directed at Black Lives Matter and Muslims.

The Rochester Police Department confirmed to BringMeTheNews Officer Ben Schlag is on leave after the department received a report concerning the posts Friday. A media officer with the department noted the incident is under investigation, and they can not comment further at this time.

The group Rochester for Justice says it 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.

"He has made it clear that he does not respect or value the lives of the citizens of color he is sworn to protect and serve," Rochester for Justice notes, demanding the officer be dismissed.

Me to We Racial Healing, a national group based in Minnesota, addressed the officer's Facebook posts in a letter addressed to the Rochester Police Department, the City of Rochester and Gov. Mark Dayton.

The letter, which also includes screenshots of the Facebook posts and a timeline of when they were posted, says comments like this from people of authority "continue to further erode trust between police and citizens."

The group is asking for an investigation, wants the officer to be replaced, and ask the department develop clear consequences when something like this happens, while calling for more public outreach to communities of color.

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis also posted about the officer, saying when this happens public servants should be held "accountable for their bias, actions, and discriminatory remarks – whether they be spoken or written on Facebook."

The Rochester Police Department was informed of the officer's posts one day after St. Paul police officer Jeffrey Rothecker resigned from his position. He is accused writing a post on Facebook urging drivers to run over Black Lives Matter protesters.

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