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Black firefighter suing Red Sox after allegedly being denied entrance to Fenway

An entrance to Fenway Park.
An entrance to Fenway Park.Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images/File

A black Boston firefighter who says he was denied entrance to Fenway Park to make a safety inspection during the 2013 World Series along with his black co-worker, while their white colleague was allowed to enter the park, has filed a lawsuit against the Red Sox, according to court records.

The civil complaint was filed by Robert C. Cox, 50, of Walpole, on Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court for unspecified damages.

The Red Sox, whose principal owner, John Henry, also owns the Boston Globe, said in a statement that “while we typically do not comment on pending litigation, we only just became aware of this lawsuit late Friday, even though the alleged incident purportedly occurred in October, 2013. We have always made it a priority to cooperate with City safety officials at Fenway Park and intend to review this matter carefully.”

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According to the complaint, Cox, who is black, and two other city fire inspectors, Ronald A. Ingemi, who is white, and Rhoan J. Dalmar, who is black, arrived at Fenway during a World Series game on Oct. 23, 2013, to perform an inspection.

All three were in plainclothes but had credentials indicating they were Fire Department employees, the complaint stated.

The trio went to an entrance by the Green Monster in left field, where a Fenway security guard allowed Ingemi, the white firefighter, to enter “without issue,” according to the complaint. But the guard detained Cox and Dalmar and demanded to see additional identification, the court filing said.

“Plaintiff repeatedly asked why their credentials were being questioned when their colleague was allowed to enter only seconds earlier without even having to flash” his city badge, the complaint said.

The encounter became heated, according to the filing, with the security officer constantly swearing at Cox and Dalmar. In addition, Ingemi returned to ask why his co-workers were being denied entry and “similarly voiced his disapproval over the disparate treatment that his colleagues were receiving,” the complaint said.

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Boston police ultimately removed Cox from the ballpark, and he “was very emotional as a result of the encounter and has undergone therapy as a result of the treatment he received,” according to the filing.

The statement did not identify the Fenway security officer.

The Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 World Series, four games to two, their third title in 10 seasons.

According to Cox’s civil filing, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination found last year that “probable cause existed to support [Cox’s] allegations.”

Steve MacDonald, a Boston Fire Department spokesman, said Friday night that the department was not aware of the lawsuit and is not a party to it.

“That being said, we’re certainly going to look into it,” MacDonald said.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.

This story has been updated to include a statement from the Red Sox.