Washington State Fire Department Settles Race Discrimination Suit With Former Chief for $400k

A race discrimination lawsuit filed earlier this year by a former Washington state fire chief, has been settled for $400,001 plus attorney’s fees. Vince Beasley served as the fire chief for the Kennewick Fire Department from 2014 until September of 2019 when he was fired.

Chief Beasley filed suit on January 12, 2022 claiming he was fired “because he is Black and because he opposed the City’s discriminatory practices toward racial minorities and women.” He further alleged that “he was never fully accepted as the leader of his own department because of the color of his skin.”

The city made an offer of judgment to Chief Beasley to settle his suit for $400,001 plus attorneys fees, together with the dismissal of the case against City Manager Marie Mosley. He accepted the offer, leading US District Court Judge Mary K. Dimke to enter judgment in favor of Chief Beasley.

Attached is the original complaint, the order of judgment and final judgment in the matter:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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