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Former Brookline police officer reaches $150,000 settlement with town

Former Brookline police officer Prentice Pilot will receive $117,500 from the town, while $32,500 will pay for his attorney costs.
Former Brookline police officer Prentice Pilot will receive $117,500 from the town, while $32,500 will pay for his attorney costs.John Blanding/Globe Staff/File 2016

A former Brookline police officer who complained of racial discrimination on the force has reached a $150,000 settlement with the town, according to documents provided to the Globe on Tuesday.

Prentice Pilot, will receive $117,500, while $32,500 will pay for his attorney costs. as part of the settlement that appears to have been finalized Friday.

The settlement states that defendants , which include the town, “deny the allegations and claims asserted against them . . . and deny that they violated any law or statute, deny that they discriminated against, violated his rights or harmed Pilot, and deny that they are liable to Pilot in any way.”

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Hillary Schwab, an attorney who represented Pilot, said the “issues raised in the lawsuit were important.”

“It brought to light serious issues about how the town handled race discrimination complaints by its employees,” she said. “We hope this isn’t the end in the fight against racism in the town of Brookline.”

Brookline town counsel Joslin Ham Murphy said, “We are pleased that a resolution of this matter was reached and wish Mr. Pilot well,” in an e-mail to the Globe on Tuesday.

The settlement states “the Parties wish to resolve, finally and completely, and with prejudice, any and all matters between them and to avoid the further expense and inconvenience of litigation.”

Pilot and another black officer, Estifanos Zerai-Misgun, were fired last year for failing to come to work after they reported they were repeated targets of racial epithets and harassment on the force. Zerai-Misgun reached a $180,000 settlement with the town in October.

The men said they were ostracized after reporting the conduct to superiors, including former Brookline police chief Daniel C. O’Leary, and saying they felt unsafe on the job.

O’Leary, who retired earlier this year, had contended that he worked actively to address the men’s concerns.

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In court filings, Zerai-Misgun said he was in an unmarked cruiser when a Brookline lieutenant told him, “Who would put a black man behind one of those?” Pilot accused a superior of telling him to get on a sidewalk and perform jumping jacks, using a racial slur.

In an August letter to Brookline’s then-acting chief of police, Mark P. Morgan, Pilot thanked the police department “for the opportunities it has provided to me over almost 20 years,” but also acknowledged, “The last several months of my employment with the Department were difficult for me.”

“I believe I heard a racial slur stated to me on December 4, 2015, by a Sergeant I had stopped to greet at a street construction detail he was working,” said Pilot.

Pilot said “it felt difficult for me to contemplate returning to work after having come forward with my complaint.”

“I acknowledge that there is a disagreement about what happened on December 4, 2015,” said Pilot in the letter. “I recognize that, after December 2015, the Town took steps to train Department employees about racism and has otherwise attempted to address my concerns.”


Globe correspondent John Hilliard and Meghan E. Irons of Globe staff contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.