In the latest installment of former Brookline firefighter Gerald Alston’s case against Brookline, a federal magistrate judge has decided that Alston can move forward with his lawsuit against the town and 10 individuals.
In 2013, Alston filed a case in federal court claiming a pattern of systematic racism and retaliation within the town. This came after Alston complained about a racial epithet left on his voicemail by a white supervisor in 2010, and later lost his job in 2016 following a lengthy internal investigation.
In his case, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, Alston is suing the Select Board, town counsel and the Human Resources director, collectively as the town. He is also suing the individual board members, town counsel and the Human Resources director personally in the same case.
On Feb. 6 Magistrate Judge Page Kelley denied a motion to dismiss the case against the 10 individuals listed as defendants.
“Alston is a member of a racial minority and … he has adequately alleged that the Town defendants and each of the individual defendants engaged in racial discrimination, including harassment, retaliation, and termination, that adversely impacted his employment,” Kelley wrote in her report.
In separate decision also made on Feb. 6, Kelley dismissed the use of some claims of racism made in the case against the defendants. This means that while Alston can move forward with his case, some of the claims cannot be brought up in court as they do not directly relate to Alston’s case, Kelley wrote in her decisions.
Despite this, Alston is still able to use the examples of what happened with police officers Prentice Pilot and Estifanos Zerai-Misgun, who complained of racism within the police department and were fired in 2017.
“We’re pleased the judge denied the individuals’ defense’s motion to dismiss and did a lot of work in analyzing the claims,” said Alston’s attorney, Brooks Ames.
Both Alston and the defendants have 14 days from the time of the decision to file objections to the decision.
Town Counsel Joslin Murphy did not respond to requests for comment.
View Kelley’s full report here.