SPD consent decree done
On Sept. 6, Judge James Robart ruled to end the majority of the consent decree establishing federal oversight of the Seattle Police Department. He maintained three sections, covering crowd control tactics, police accountability and upcoming Seattle Police Officers Guild contract negotiations.
“Judge Robart’s ruling is a critical milestone in our efforts to reform policing. It recognizes the significant changes in our approach to crime, behavioral health incidents, and professional standards,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell, in a statement the same day.
While Harrell, who has made ending the consent decree a focal point of his administration, took an optimistic tone in his statement, Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, head of the council’s public safety committee, urged a bit more caution.
“While progress has been made, our work is not yet done,” she said in a statement released Sept. 7. “The Seattle Police Department must … rebuild trust within our community, address serious concerns regarding racially biased policing, and revamp its response to protests.”
Christian coach is a quitter
Joe Kennedy, the Bremerton High School (BHS) assistant football coach who won a United States Supreme Court case about postgame prayer, was never in it for the love of the game, it turns out. Kennedy was reinstated to his former position as a result of the court ruling, but lasted for a grand total of one game.
Kennedy originally sued BHS when the school opted not to renew his contract in 2015, a decision he claims was motivated by his penchant for prayer.
“Kennedy’s return was a publicity stunt that Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount would have disdained as being like the ‘hypocrites … [praying] to be seen by men,’” wrote the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) in a Sept. 8 press release.
“The focus of the game, and the reason for the large media presence, wasn’t the players,” FFRF’s release continued. “No, as always, it was about Coach Kennedy and his posturing, performative prayers.”
Kennedy claimed otherwise in a letter of resignation obtained by the Seattle Times.
“It is apparent that the reinstatement ordered by the Supreme Court will not be fully followed after a series of actions meant to diminish my role and single me out in what I can only believe is retaliation by the school district,” he wrote in an explanation of why he left the post so quickly.
As for what this means for the Bremerton Knights, we’ll have to wait and see, as the football season is just getting started.
Read more of the Sept. 13-19, 2023 issue.