Boston, MA – Boston Mayor Kim Janey fired the city’s beleaguered police commissioner on Monday and announced new policies for vetting future top cop candidates.
Janey has been trying to get rid Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White since she took office.
Commissioner White was sworn in on Feb. 1 by now-former Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, the Boston Globe reported.
Former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross retired unexpectedly on Jan. 29 after 37 years on the Boston Police Department.
The mayor said Commissioner White, the 43rd head of the nation’s oldest police force, had been asked to quickly step into the role in order to create a smooth transition, the WCVB reported.
Commissioner White is a 32-year veteran of the Boston police force.
He lasted two days before Walsh suspended him pending investigation because of some “disturbing issues” of which he’d learned.
The mayor announced on Feb. 3 that he had placed Commissioner White on leave while an outside group would be hired “to conduct a full and impartial investigation” into a 1999 allegation of domestic violence, The Boston Globe reported.
Commissioner White allegedly pushed, and then threatened to shoot, his wife at the time, who was also a Boston police officer.
The Boston Globe reported that a judge issued a restraining order against him on May 5, 1999.
Commissioner White was ordered to vacate the home, stay away from his family, and surrender his service weapon, according to the Boston Globe.
Court records showed that Commissioner White denied the allegations at the time.
“These disturbing issues were not known to me or my staff, but should have been at the forefront,” the mayor said in a statement. “Upon learning of these serious allegations, I immediately acted.”
Walsh announced that he has appointed Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long to serve as acting commissioner while the allegations are investigated, the Boston Globe reported.
Commissioner White has been a member of the Boston police brass for a long time.
He rose to the rank of superintendent and became former Commissioner Gross’s chief of staff after serving as deputy superintendent in the Office of the Superintendent-in-Chief and in the Bureau of Field Services Night Command, WCVB reported.
The commissioner’s eldest daughter spoke out and said the 20-year-old allegations against her father were not true.
“It was a lie. It was a lie,” Tiffany White told WGBH on Feb. 15.
Tiffany, now 38, said she had never witnessed her father being violent toward her mother.
She said she had, however, seen her mother be physically aggressive toward her father, WGBH reported.
“I have seen my mother put her hands on my father, throw stuff at him. And I have seen him try to get away,” the new police commissioner’s daughter said.
But that’s wasn’t enough for the newly-sworn in mayor of Boston, WBZ reported.
“Dennis White has repeatedly asserted that the domestic violence allegations against him are false, but he stated in his hearing and during the investigation that he has hit and pushed members of his household,” Janey told reporters at the press conference announcing his termination. “The allegations and evidence of this behavior raised serious questions about his fitness to lead the Boston Police Department.”
Janey, the president of the Boston City Council, became acting mayor when Walsh was appointed to President Joe Biden’s cabinet as Secretary of Labor.
“It is a new day. We have a new vision for policing in Boston,” the mayor said. “We have to reimagine policing; we have to make sure that there is accountability and transparency.”
Nick Carter, former Commissioner White’s attorney, called out Janey for rushing to judgment, WBZ reported.
“He is a black man, falsely accused of crimes, not given a fair trial or hearing, and then convicted, or terminated which is the equivalent here,” Carter pointed out. “This reflects an ugly pattern in our country.”
“The Acting Mayor published the report and communicated that Dennis White was guilty of the allegations and needed to go, without pausing to evaluate the obvious flaws in the report. She destroyed a good man’s name and livelihood in the process,” the attorney said.
But Janey stood by her decision when she made the firing announcement, WBZ reported.
“The allegations and evidence of this behavior raised serious questions about his fitness to lead the Boston Police Department,” Janey said. “It is not in the best interest of the Boston Police Department, its employee, or the citizens of Boston for him to remain as Commissioner.”