BOSTON (AP) — Boston's police
commissioner was fired Monday after a contentious battle to keep his job after decades-old allegations of domestic violence
Acting Mayor Kim Janey
announced Dennis White
's resignation as the city's top cop, four months after White was placed on leave over the allegations just days into his new job.
White, according to Janey, failed to fully cooperate with the city's investigation
into the claims and was a "reoccurring presence" at police headquarters while on leave, creating confusion for officers and fostering a "climate
of intimidation" within the force.
“It is clear that Dennis White’s reappointment as Commissioner would send a chilling message to victims of domestic violence in our city, as well as reinforce a culture of fear and a blue wall of silence in our police department,” Janey told reporters.
The acting mayor announced that a national search will be conducted to find White's replacement.
White attempted to go to court to have his firing overturned, claiming that the allegations were false and that the mayor had no reason to fire him. During a hearing last week, White told Janey, "I am innocent, and I ask that you not convict me."
White's attorney slammed Janey's decision and indicated that the former commissioner's civil rights
litigation against the city will continue. White intends to file civil rights claims against the city to "recover for his own losses and to send a message that this kind of unlawful and harmful treatment must not be allowed to happen again to anyone," attorney Nick Carter
said in an emailed statement.
“In a rush to judgment, the Acting Mayor got this one wrong and destroyed Dennis White,” Carter said.
White, a 32-year veteran of the department who took over for William Gross
, the city's first Black police commissioner, was suspended after The Boston Globe
raised concerns about allegations found in court documents dating back to 1999 that White pushed and threatened to shoot his then-wife, a fellow officer.
According to a city investigation report released last month, witnesses claimed White's ex-wife was subjected to "physical
and mental abuse." Among the allegations in the report are that White burned her hair
, put her face to a stove, and threw a television
at her. A judge issued a restraining order against White in 1999, ordering him to stay away from his wife and children
According to the city report, White was also involved in "heated fisticuffs" with a young woman in 1993, and admitted striking her with a full swing of his arm and open hand, but claims he was acting in self-defense.
White has categorically denied ever engaging in domestic violence and accused his ex-wife of lying in order to gain a financial advantage in their divorce
“I am a Black man who has been falsely accused of crimes, I have yet to be given a fair trial
, and I’m on the verge of being convicted, or terminated, which is the equivalent here,” White said during his termination hearing, according to a statement provided by his lawyer.
White, who was Gross' chief of staff at the time, was quickly chosen to lead the department by then-Mayor Marty Walsh
, who described White as a "proven leader who is trusted and respected in the community." Walsh has insisted that he had no prior knowledge of the allegations and would not have chosen White if he had.
Gross, however, stated in an affidavit filed in court that Walsh, now Secretary of Labor
, was briefed on White's internal affairs history when White was promoted to the department's command staff in 2014, and thus was aware of the allegations before naming him police commissioner.
In a video released by his lawyer, White also stated that he informed Walsh of the restraining order issued against him due to "false allegations." White stated that Walsh "was as sympathetic to what was going on with me as I was about his past and how we had overcome some hurdles in our lives to move on."