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Brookline firing firefighters charged in separate incidents

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Firefighter Joseph Ward has pleaded not guilty to charges of beating a homeless man outside a taco shop.

Oct. 22–Town officials are canning a Brookline firefighter charged with beating a man at a taco takeout shop and another accused of drunken driving.

The Brookline Board of Selectmen voted last night to fire Joseph Ward and another firefighter, Jeremy Joseph, who was charged with drunken driving in a separate off-duty incident that occurred a day earlier.

“Terminating career employees is one of the most difficult actions a selectman can take, but in these cases the actions of the employees were egregious, violating the rules and regulations of the fire department and damaging the reputation and credibility of the fire department and the town,” town officials said in a statement.

The decision drew a swift rebuke from the firefighters' union, which vowed to fight it.

“These firefighters were fired without even an attempt at investigating the true circumstances of the incidents. Their terminations were without just cause or due process, and will be appealed,” said Paul Trahon, president of Brookline Firefighters Local 950 IAFF.

Ward, 37, of Dorchester, pleaded not guilty to charges he pummeled Jeffrey Gagnon, 53, with his fists, his feet, a burrito and a glass bottle, while screaming, “(Expletive) homeless (expletive)” on Oct. 11 outside Anna's Taqueria.

Joseph is facing drunken driving and hit-and-run charges from an Oct. 10 incident in which police say he hit another vehicle head-on in Newton.

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