BROOKLINE (CBS) – This week, the Massachusetts Supreme Court said Gerald Alston was wrongly fired after complaining about a racist work environment at the Brookline Fire Department.
“The truth is the truth and I knew it was going to come to the surface and right now it justifies me, it fills me with joy,” Alston said.
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Justification, but not justice. The former Brookline firefighter said he was relieved his truth had been validated by the state’s highest court.
“I was counting on my union to step in and help me and they didn’t either. I feel like there has to be something in place for the little people, ”Alston said.
The ruling upholds a public service decision that details how Brookline officials failed to protect Alston from retaliation, and now becomes a pivotal moment in a painful and public legal battle that has been unfolding since 2010. Alston said that his lieutenant Paul Pender had inadvertently left a voicemail message on his phone using the N-word.
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“Even though some board members admitted that they knew this senior officer said these things and did it in a racist manner, they didn’t want to support me or be on my side. They wanted to brush it under the rug, ”Alston said.
Alston said he was eternally grateful to the Brookline Justice League for taking his case for free.
Brookline chairman Bernard Greene, who voted to fire Alston, did not return WBZ’s request for comment.
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The only board member who voted against the city’s call, Raul Fernandez, said Brookline should use this moment to refocus racial and economic justice in the community.