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A New Haven, Connecticut firefighter who has a current discrimination case against the department had been charged with bribery in connection with the case. Firefighter Aaron Brantley’s case against City of New Haven, the New Haven Fire Department, Assistant Chief Patrick Egan and Capt. Matthew Marcarelli claims that Brantley was given “nonsensical” assignments to complete while on light-duty. Brantley had suffered an on-the-job shoulder injury.
According to news reports, it was Assistant Chief Egan who brought the allegations to New Haven Police that Brantley attempted to bribe two firefighters to back up his claims and split the settlement with them. Union President Jim Kottage walked out of police headquarters with Brantley and said there may be more to the story.
Brantley is free on $20,000 bond.
A source familiar with the matter said the arrest is in relation to a pending discrimination case that Brantley filed with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. The case recently was scheduled for mandatory mediation in April.
Brantley allegedly attempted to bribe two minority firefighters to testify that Assistant Chief Patrick Egan and Capt. Matthew Marcarelli discriminated against him based on his race, a source said. He allegedly offered the two firefighters a percentage of any monetary settlement he won.
According to the New Haven Register, Brantley claimed he was being discriminated against when he was tasked with painting fire hydrants, cleaning windows and doing errands, as well as other duties while recovering from an injury. In response, he filed a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the report states.
Attorney Hugh Keefe, who is representing Brantley, said his client has been with the department for eight years, has received several commendations and is a terrific firefighter who saved several people from burning buildings.
Brantley showed up at police headquarters just before noon to turn himself in. He was accompanied by his brother, his fiancee, firefighter union President Jimmy Kottage, and attorney Hugh Keefe.
As he waited outside for his client to be processes, Keefe said, “Aaron is a highly reputed New Haven firefighter. … It’s a very thin case against him.”
“I’m here for support,” Kottage said, after Brantley got into the passenger side of Keefe’s black BMW and drove off. “When the smoke clears, there may be another story here.”