Ex-Boston Mayor Marty Walsh knew of the domestic violence allegations against his pick for the city police commissioner prior to appointing him, affidavit says

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, speaks during the inaugural meeting of the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, with Vice President Kamala Harris, in Harris’ ceremonial office, Thursday, May 13, 2021. When he was mayor of Boston, Walsh appointed Dennis White as Boston Police commissioner in January 2021, prior to joining the Biden administration.

  • Ex-Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh knew of past domestic abuse allegations against his police commissioner pick, according to a court affidavit.
  • Walsh, now US Labor Secretary, maintained that he had no knowledge of the internal affair history of Dennis White.
  • White was placed on administrative leave in February after a Boston Globe investigation revealed he had allegedly pushed and threatened to shoot his then-wife.
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According to a court affidavit filed earlier this week, then-Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh was aware of the domestic abuse allegations against his pick for the city’s police commissioner.

Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White was placed on administrative leave in February after a report by The Boston Globe revealed 1999 allegations that White had pushed and threatened to shoot his then-wife, who was also a police officer. White succeeded retired commissioner William Gross in January 2021 after Walsh appointed him.

The affidavit is part of a lawsuit filed by White against acting Mayor Kim Janey after the city attempted to fire him earlier this month following an outside investigation initiated by Walsh, WBUR reported.

In the affidavit, Gross said in January 2014, when he was superintendent-in-chief of the BPD, he and then-commissioner William Evans were reviewing candidates on the force for promotion, including White, who was up for promotion to deputy superintendent.

Gross said the mayor must approve every candidate to the command staff, and therefore is briefed on each one and their internal affairs history.

“There is no way anyone is brought onto the command staff without such a briefing to the mayor and approval by the mayor,” Gross said in the affidavit. “The city, including Mayor Walsh, was aware no later than January 2014 of White’s IA [internal affairs] record.”

Gross’ remarks in the affidavit contradict Evans’ and Walsh’s claims that they were not aware of White’s past prior to being appointed to the commissioner role.

In February, Walsh, who currently serves as the US Secretary of Labor for the Biden administration, denied having any knowledge of the domestic abuse allegations prior to appointing White as police commissioner.

“These disturbing issues were not known to me or my staff but should have been at the forefront,” Walsh said on February 3, ahead of his nomination hearing to be labor secretary.

In a Wednesday statement, Gross continued to dispute Gross’ claim in the affidavit, saying that he “was not aware of these serious allegations until after I appointed White as police commissioner.”

“Neither the allegations nor the internal affairs files were shared with me in 2014, or during any other consideration of Dennis White,” Walsh said in the statement to The Globe. “Had I known, I would not have chosen him for police commissioner or any other role.”

Evans also denied that he nor the former mayor knew about White’s internal affair history, saying that it was “not true.”

“Under no circumstances did I know about his past, nor did the mayor know,” Evans told The Globe.

White called the investigation a “sham” and Janey’s attempts to fire him as an “ambush,” WBUR reported. He filed his own affidavit Wednesday denying the allegations in his internal affairs history, and disputing claims made in a 19-page report by an independent investigator.

“The investigator’s report, which was made public by the Acting Mayor, has had a devastating effect on me,” White said in the affidavit. “It is filled with false allegations of the most serious nature, including allegations I committed the crime of domestic violence, and has caused the most severe damage to my reputation with the general public.”

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