Boston’s Acting Mayor Kim Janey expects the independent investigation into Police Commissioner Dennis White, who was placed on leave earlier this year after a 1999 domestic abuse allegation resurfaced, to wrap up this month.
“We do expect that that investigation will conclude in the coming weeks, this month, that is what we do expect,” said Janey on GBH’s Boston Public Radio on Thursday.
The question marks atop Boston police leadership is a problem Janey inherited from her predecessor. Former mayor Martin J. Walsh, in the waning weeks of his City Hall tenure, appointed White to be the city’s 43rd police commissioner following the retirement of William Gross. Two days after White was sworn in, he was placed on leave, amid revelations of allegations that he had pushed and threatened to shoot his then-wife, also a police officer, 22 years earlier.
Questions about what, if any, vetting the city performed for such a crucial appointment persist. An ongoing investigation is being conducted by attorney Tamsin Kaplan of Davis Malm.
On Thursday, Janey described the 1999 allegations against White as serious, but added that she believed that “people should have the opportunity to move on from things when they happen like this. When you take responsibility, you can move on.”
Janey said she did not know what the report from the investigation would show.
“It’s important that we do see what the report shows so I can make an informed decision,” she said.
In court documents, White denied the allegations and no criminal charges were filed against him. But a restraining order signed by a judge forced White to vacate his home, stay away from his wife and children, and surrender his service weapon.
Gregory Long continues to serve as acting commissioner of the department. How Janey handles the White situation will likely be one of her first major decisions as acting mayor.
Walsh is now gone, serving as the nation’s labor secretary.
Under Walsh, the city refused to release decades-old internal affairs records about White until the probe into the allegation finished, despite the state’s public records office ruling that the city had failed to meet the legal threshold in denying the public access to records about the commissioner.
Janey was asked about the city’s refusal during her Thursday GBH appearance.
“I will be looking into that,” she said.