BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s police commissioner, who was placed on leave shortly after he got the job over more than 20-year-old domestic violence allegations, went to court Friday to try to block the city from firing him from.
An attorney for Dennis White filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction after the attorney says acting Mayor Kim Janey informed White on Friday morning that she intends to remove him.
Janey told reporters an independent investigation into the allegations involving White revealed a “culture of fear and silence” within the Boston Police Department.
“Sworn police officers refused to speak to investigators, frustrating efforts to uncover the truth,” Janey said. “What is often referred to as a blue wall of silence was confirmed by one retired officer who said he received five phone calls directing him not to cooperate with this investigation. Other officers were intimidated into silence, for fear of retaliation,” she said.
“This cloud cannot continue if we want to move the department forward,” Janey said.
White was put on leave in February after The Boston Globe raised questions about allegations found in court documents that White pushed and threatened to shoot his then wife, a fellow police officer.
A judge issued a restraining order against White in 1999, ordering him to stay away from his wife and children and surrender his service weapon, the newspaper reported. White denied the allegations at the time, according to the court papers.
White replaced William Gross, the city’s first Black police commissioner, who abruptly retired after nearly 40 years on the police force.
White’s attorney, Nick Carter, said Janey does not have the power to remove him.
“Any removal would require a hearing and cause, and there is no cause to remove him,” he said in an emailed statement. “Commissioner White, a Black man and only the second Black police commissioner in Boston’s history, is being treated very badly and in violation of the law,” Carter said.
A Boston police spokesperson said the department could not comment until after reviewing the investigative report.