25 Investigates: Framingham police department employee disciplined for racial slur

By: Blair Miller , Erin Smith

Updated:

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - A town employee at the Framingham Police Department has been disciplined for using racially offensive language, 25 Investigates has uncovered.

In May, Boston 25 News Anchor Blair Miller first reported on the controversy surrounding Brian Simoneau, the assistant to the Framingham Police Chief with a police badge, a police gun and an unmarked police vehicle he used to pull over drivers.

Now, 25 Investigates has learned that Simoneau has been disciplined for using a racial slur.

The latest allegations stem from a lawsuit filed by a retired Framingham police officer. In the court document, Simoneau is accused of calling then-President Barack Obama the “head n— in charge” – using a racial slur.

The comments were made in 2015 but are just coming out now.

Framingham’s town manager told 25 Investigates he only recently learned about it.

He said Simoneau was disciplined but wouldn’t provide details, saying in a statement, “Upon investigation of the statement, the Chief of Police took decisive action in the form of discipline.  We do not disclose the specifics of personnel actions involving individual employees.”

25 Investigates also reached out to Simoneau.

In emails to 25 Investigates, Simoneau defended using the slur, saying, “I quoted a line from Morgan Freeman in the movie ‘Lean on Me,’ which positively portrays the African-American Principal of a New Jersey High School. This movie quote wasn't said in a pejorative or hateful manner.”

Simoneau added, “Any accusation or suggestion that I am a racist is completely false.”

A lawyer for Framingham says Simoneau has been mischaracterized over his use of the slur, which he said was taken out of context. He said Simoneau’s use of the slur “was not racially motivated.”

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The Framingham Police Superior Officers Association, a police union, condemned Simoneau’s use of the slur and said the discipline he received was “inadequate.”

“The Town of Framingham should refuse to allow such hateful comments amongst any of its employees, but especially among high ranking members of the police command staff,” wrote Sgt. Scott A. Brown, president of the union.

Framingham Police Chief Kenneth Ferguson told 25 Investigates he has zero tolerance for racially offensive language and immediately opened an investigation after learning about the accusations.

Ferguson also said he’s looking for training related to this issue for his staff.

This isn’t the first time Simoneau has come under scrutiny.

In May, 25 Investigates uncovered that Simoneau had been pulling over drivers and responding to police scenes as a “special police officer.”

Simoneau’s official title is assistant to the police chief – his $111,000 town job.

That salary is on top of the $300 weekly stipend he gets as a lawyer for the Framingham Police Department.
Simoneau is also an unpaid special police officer with a police badge and a police gun and a fully equipped unmarked police vehicle.

The town’s lawyer told 25 Investigates at the time that Simoneau has some law enforcement background and firearm training, but Framingham Sgt. Scott Brown, president of the Framingham Police Superior Officers Association, says his union sent a letter to the chief two years ago warning that Simoneau was “responding to police calls for service and is not a police officer.”

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