Boston Mayor Kim Janey Fires Police Commissioner Accused of Domestic Abuse

Boston Mayor Kim Janey on Monday fired suspended Police Commissioner Dennis White, who is accused of domestic abuse against his former wife. Janey said that if he stayed in the position, it would send a "chilling message" to domestic violence victims.

White's firing follows an independent investigation into multiple allegations of domestic violence against him as well as testimony he provided during a hearing on June 1, Janey said during a press conference.

"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," Janey said. "The allegations and evidence of this behavior raised serious questions about his fitness to lead the Boston Police Department."

White landed the position in February after being chosen by former Mayor Marty Walsh and was suspended soon after allegations of domestic violence against ex-wife Sybil Mason from years ago emerged, WBUR News reported.

"Instead of expressing understanding, regret, growth or contrition regarding his admitted actions about domestic violence, Dennis White has instead continued a campaign to vilify his former wife," Janey said.

She mentioned that his actions in recent weeks have eroded public trust in his judgment and ability to lead and that he failed to fully cooperate during the investigation.

White was "a recurring presence at police headquarters while on administrative leave," she said. "At best, this behavior created confusion among officers and at worst it fostered a climate of intimidation during the investigation and beyond."

White's lawyer, Nick Carter, said in a statement that "he is a Black man, falsely accused of crimes, not given a fair trial or hearing, and then convicted, or terminated, which is the equivalent here. This reflects an ugly pattern in our country," according to CBS Boston.

Janey addressed how White "describes his circumstances as part of a pattern of falsely accused Black men."

"The desperate 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," she said.

Janey said that if White was to return to his position, it "would send a chilling message to victims of domestic violence in our city and reinforce a culture of fear and a blue wall of silence in our police department."

She emphasized that she is "committed to leading positive change and systemic reforms to bring overdue transparency and accountability to policing in Boston."

Newsweek reached out to Janey's office, the Boston Police Department and Carter for additional comments but did not hear back in time for publication.

Boston Mayor Kim Janey
Boston Mayor Kim Janey fired suspended Police Commissioner Dennis White on Monday following allegations of domestic abuse against his ex-wife. Above, Janey delivers her inaugural address at City Hall on March 24, 2021, in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images