Army overturns reprimand for officer who protested, wrote critical op-eds

(Photos courtesy of Alan Kennedy)

A US Army review board overturned a reprimand for a then-captain in the Colorado National Guard after he attended a Black Lives Matter event and criticized his command in a publication. 

Captain Alan Kennedy, transferred to the US Army Reserve in December, lauded the reversal.

“Do service members lose all of their constitutional rights simply because they take an oath to support and defend the Constitution? If the First Amendment means anything, the answer is ‘no,’” he said.

According to Colorado NewsLine, attended a Denver Black Lives Matter event in May 2020.

The Colorado Army National Guard then investigated whether or not Kennedy violated a Department of Defense order prohibiting off-duty troops from “participating in off-post demonstrations … (where) violence is likely to result.”

Kennedy also wrote an opinion column for the Denver Post on the events, which prompted further investigation. 

Ultimately,  Kennedy would continue to write another piece for Colorado NewsLine, stating, “there is nothing wrong with a part-time National Guard member writing a letter to the editor or op-ed, participating in a peaceful protest, or exercising any constitutional right, on their own time and dime.”

A permanent general officer memorandum of reprimand, or GOMOR, was issued in September 2020 by Brig. Gen. Douglas Paul as a response to what was seen as brazen conduct unbecoming of an officer.

However, the Department of the Army Suitability Evaluation Board officially removed that reprimand last week, claiming Kennedy “provided clear and convincing evidence which shows the GOMOR is inaccurate, unjust, or otherwise flawed.”

Kennedy started teaching public policy as a professor at the College of William & Mary this past fall semester.

According to the University, “his research areas include federalism, equity, public administration, and criminal justice.”

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