A former Mountlake Terrace police sergeant whose views supporting the decriminalization of marijuana led to his dismissal in 2005 has won his job back and an $815,000 settlement from the city and Snohomish County.Read the whole story here.
However, Sgt. Jonathan Wender will not return to the streets. In addition to the financial settlement, the city has agreed to keep him on administrative leave and to pay him a $90,000-a-year salary for the next two years, when he will be able to retire after 20 years with the department.
In addition, he won back pay dating to when he was fired and the restoration of his retirement benefits, said his lawyer, Andrea Brenneke.
In a lawsuit, Wender, 42, had claimed the city and county violated his right to free speech by targeting him for his political beliefs. Wender, who holds a Ph.D., teaches full time at the University of Washington and has written and lectured extensively about police work and drug policy.
Officer Wender's is a fellow member of LEAP (though I don't know him). Too bad I couldn't get wrongfully fired when I was a cop! But then that might not have been the wisest career move at the time.
Officer Wender's dissertation title was, I'm not making this up: "Policing as Poetry: Phenomenological and Aesthetic Reflections Upon the Bureaucratic Approach to Human Predicaments." Wow... that title is straight out an Onion parody on PhD dissertations! On the other hand, the line, "There is a tragic beauty in working the streets, [and] I miss the intimacy of making order out of chaos," is kind of poetic.