Acting Mayor Kim Janey held a press conference on June 7, where she announced the immediate termination of Dennis White as commissioner of the Boston Police Department (BPD).
“I reached this decision after carefully considering the results of an independent investigation into multiple allegations of domestic violence against Dennis White, along with testimony and information he provided during the hearing on June 1.”
Domestic violence allegations against White were brought to light after his swearing in on February 1. On February 3, Mayor Marty Walsh placed White on administrative leave while an independent investigation was conducted.
Janey said that ““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. The allegations and evidence of this behavior raised serious questions about his fitness to run the Boston Police Department, and Dennis White’s actions in recent weeks have done even more to erode public trust in his judgement and ability to lead.”
Janey added that “instead of expressing understanding, regret, growth, or contrition regarding his admitted actions about domestic violence, Dennis White instead has continued to campaign to vilify his former wife.”
She added that White “describes his circumstances as part of a pattern of falsely accused Black men,” The disparate treatment of Black people in our country is a genuine concern, but let’s be clear: racism is a burden carried by both men and women of color and I will not turn a blind eye to domestic violence against black women or any woman for that matter in the Boston Police Department or anywhere else.”
Janey also said that White refused to “fully cooperate” with the investigation, and that he was a “reoccurring presence” at BPD headquarters while he was on leave.
“As commissioner, he failed to lead by example,” Janey said.
She continued, “As mayor I am committed to leading positive change and systemic reforms to bring overdue transparency and accountability to policing in Boston. The time has come for us to turn away from the mistakes of the past and move toward a more just and equitable Boston.
“I am implementing several measures to reimagine the future of policing in our city and set the stage for a national search for a permanent commissioner to be named toward the end of the year,” she said.
Janey talked about fully implementing the recommendations of the Boston Police Reform Task Force, as well as the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT), which she said is currently actively investigating complaints.
Janey also said a mental health response pilot has been created with the city’s office of Health and Human Services as well as the BPD.
“In the coming weeks, I will name a committee of community residents, public safety advocates, and law enforcement professionals who will lead a community engagement process to define what Boston residents seek from leadership within our police force, ” Janey said.
Additionally, Janey announced that moving forward, “all candidates for BPD leadership” will be “subject to vetting and background checks.” She also said that the city will help to “strengthen” the BPD’s policy for domestic violence, as the existing policy is more than 15 years old.
“For the first time, we will propose a sexual assault policy to govern our police force,” Janey said. “The BPD will require steady leadership as we move forward.”
Janey also expressed her gratitude for Chief Greg Long, who has been acting as both the Chief of Police and the Acting Commissioner.