ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The city of Albuquerque faces new allegations and a new lawsuit that could cost taxpayers a lot of money.
Three Albuquerque Fire Department firefighters are taking the city of Albuquerque to federal court.
They all claim they were all either fired or suspended and treated differently because of the color of their skin.
When other firefighters were caught doing similar things, the trio alleges they were punished very differently.
Attorney Michael Cadigan is representing Carla Williams, Michael Trujillo and Brad Tate.
Williams, an African-American who began suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing the violent death of a family member, says she was fired after requesting a transfer to a regular firefighter position.
Trujillo, a Hispanic firefighter who's also an AFD chaplain, says he was suspended after he wouldn't tell the chief what another firefighter told him in a confidential meeting protected by religious privilege.
And Tate says he was fired after telling patients that taking an ambulance wouldn't get them seen any quicker at the hospital and that it was cheaper to have someone drive them.
Tate has been in trouble before for everything from bar brawls and telling patients with serious medical conditions they didn't need to go to the emergency room to a crash that killed a man.
But Cadigan says those past problems aren't why Tate was fired.
He says it's all about who you know in the department determining how you'll be punished.
He says the city has asked the case be moved to federal court, and he has a hunch on why.
"I don't speak for the city attorney, but I will say they've had a few bad results in state court recently where they've gotten hit with very large judgments because of this exact same lack of control of personal management," Cadigan said.
The city says that's not the case at all and that it regularly removes cases involving claims of this nature to federal court.
It will not comment further on the pending lawsuit.
The lawsuit seeks lost wages and other monetary damages that would be decided by a jury.
The case was moved to federal court Tuesday.
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