Women Take Action!
Good Evening Readers,
On February 1, 2021, Mayor Marty Walsh appointed Dennis White as Commissioner of the Boston Police Department. Two days later, he placed White on leave from the department because the Boston Globe reports domestic violence allegations against him. The police department knew about these allegations but said nothing as White was sworn in as Police Commissioner.
One would expect the minimum qualifications of a police commissioner to include a clean background report, integrity of character, compassion, and the ability to control anger.
On May 14, 2021, Tamsin Kaplan, an employment lawyer with a Boston Law Firm, submitted her final report of Dennis White's background issues. She confirmed the allegations about White's domestic violence and reported on the climate of silence and protection by his fellow officers in the Boston Police Department.
Kaplan said she confirmed that Dennis White’s wife had “repeatedly reported both physical and mental abuse to the DVU [domestic violence unit] during that time period, but that no IAD [Internal Affairs Division] investigations resulted until she obtained a restraining order in May 1999.” She identified 21 witnesses to interview for the investigation, but only seven were willing to speak with her. Kaplan said one witness told her that he received five phone calls warning him not to talk to her.
Kim Janey, now the Acting Mayor of Boston, said that Kaplan’s report reveals domestic abuse in 1998-99 that the police department did not investigate seriously and a continuing "misguided department culture." Janey’s response to the report was to fire Dennis White. He filed a motion for an injunction to stop this action.
On May 25, 2021, Associate Justice for the Massachusetts Superior Court, Heidi Brieger, denied the motion. White then appealed the decision.
On May 27, 2021, Vickie Henry, Appeals Court Judge, stated: "After reviewing the petition and supporting documents including the Superior Court judge's thoughtful and detailed memorandum of decision, and order, I discern no error of law or abuse of discretion in the denial of the preliminary injunction." Appeal denied.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey is scheduling a hearing to terminate White as the Police Commissioner saying, "It is time to move the Boston Police Department in a new direction toward our vision of safety, healing, and justice."
White’s domestic violence actions remain “allegations” because of the secrecy and protection of the brotherhood in the Boston Police Department. They were not taken seriously two decades ago and only have been taken seriously in the past few months. Even former police commissioner Gross, who stated that he knew about White’s past violence, recommended White to be the leading voice of justice in Boston.
Four women in power, a mayor, an investigator, and two judges identified and took action on the internal poor judgment and disregard of the truth at the Boston Police Department. Women understand domestic violence as family violence. When covered up or not prosecuted, the violence will continue.
Thank you, Women Leaders of Boston.
We can follow the rest of this story as the week unfolds. Thanks for reading and please leave a comment so I know you're out there.
You can read other essays by Elizabeth Kilcoyne by clicking on PUBLISHED WORKS above.