Brookline has reached an $180,000 settlement with a former police officer who filed a racial discrimination complaint.
The town will pay the former officer, Estifanos Zerai-Misgun, $135,000. The rest of the money will go toward his attorney’s fees.
The settlement was reached in October, but only came to light through a public records request filed by the Globe.
Zerai-Misgun and another former officer were fired in April for refusing to come to work after they complained about facing racial epithets and harassment. Both of the officers are black.
Then-Police Chief Daniel O’Leary said he had worked to address the men’s concerns. O’Leary retired last month.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, which brought the case, says it is pleased with the settlement.
As part of the settlement Zerai-Misgun wrote a thank you note to the chief acknowledging the work he had done. Zerai-Misgun also agreed not to disparage the town or talk about the terms of the settlement. Also part of the settlement? Zerai-Misgun will never be able to work for the Town of Brookline again.
As part of the settlement, Zerai-Misgun submitted an affidavit that said he was actually happy with the way the chief handled the situation.
“I received many expressions of warm support from my colleagues (including supervisors in January 2015 and thereafter after they learned about the experiences that I reported to Chief O’Leary on December 2014 that are the subject of my lawsuit.”
He wrote that he understood that, following Chief O’Leary’s addressing of his concerns with the command staff, which were meant to be anonymous, that a sergeant inadvertently told officers who had complained, but had later apologized to Zerai-Misgun. The former police officer said that at the time he accepted his apology. “And I do accept his apology,” said Zerai-Misgun in the affidavit.
Following that, he said, a few officers who previously talked with him at roll call or out and about were less friendly, but he said, “They were few.”
“Mostly I enjoyed the support of my colleagues, including from Chief O’Leary. I appreciate Chief O’Leary’s expressions of caring and concern to me after my December 2014 report to him and while I was out on sick leave in March through early August,” Zerai-Misgun wrote.
He noted that he had been worried about returning to work after his concerns became so high profile.
“But I recognize that I would not have been in danger by returning,” he wrote.
“The period since I made my report has been hard on a personal level,” he said. “But I respect and admire my former colleagues with the Brookline Police Department and wish them the best.”
Pilot has not settled.
And the town is still in litigation with former Brookline firefighter Gerald Alston about racial harassment complaints.