A Suffolk Superior Court judge has denied the town’s motion to stay Brookline firefighter Gerald Alston’s reinstatement after the state’s Civil Service Commission ruled in February that he was unjustly fired.
The case dates back almost a decade, when a Brookline Fire Department lieutenant left a voicemail for Alston and used the “n-word.” The lieutenant claimed the insult was not meant for Alston, who is black, rather a driver on the road. Alston was placed on paid leave in 2013 after the town claimed he made threatening comments at work. Alston has said he suffered anxiety, depression, rage and emotional distress as a result of his treatment in the Brookline Fire Department, the TAB previously reported. In October 2014, he was placed on unpaid administrative leave.
Alston alleged a systemic pattern of racism and retaliation, bringing a federal suit against the town in 2015. The town fired Alston in 2016, claiming he was fit to return to duty but refused to do so.
The Brookline Select Board voted on March 12 to appeal the decision. The town asked Judge Douglas H. Wilkins to stay Alston’s reinstatement pending appeal, but Wilkins denied the stay in a Monday ruling, a copy of which was provided to the TAB.