Black firefighters say that the stakes in their case couldn't be higher.
"If we lose this," New Haven firefighter Octavius Dawson said, "the implication is catastrophic. I mean, where does it end. Not just with the fire department. Police department, education, who knows where it could end?"
But aggrieved firefighters say they want to take race out of the equation.
"We want to be treated just as firefighters, whether we are men, women, white, African American, Hispanic. We want to be treated as firefighters, period."