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White calls on mayor to consider video affidavits from family members in his defense

Dennis White appeared during the Dennis White v. Kim Janey Zoom hearing on May 20, 2021.
Dennis White appeared during the Dennis White v. Kim Janey Zoom hearing on May 20, 2021.Suffolk Superior Court

Embattled Boston police Commissioner Dennis White, who has lost a legal appeal and is likely to be ousted from office Wednesday over domestic abuse allegations, is calling on Acting Mayor Kim Janey to consider video affidavits from two family members who say he never abused his former wife.

White is due to appear before city officials in a virtual hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday, following decisions by the superior and appeals courts that cleared the way for Janey to remove him from his post.

In 1999, White was accused of striking and threatening to shoot his then-wife, a fellow Boston police officer, and in a separate 1993 incident, of hitting a 19-year-old woman. White was sworn in by former mayor Martin J. Walsh in February, but was placed on leave shortly afterward amid questions from The Boston Globe about his past.

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In a letter to Janey on Monday, White’s attorney, Nicholas Carter, said White has been wrongly accused.

White asked Janey, through his attorney, to consider video statements recorded over the weekend by his daughter, Tiffany, and his former sister-in-law, Connie Owens, before making a decision on his fate as commissioner. The two portrayed White, who joined the department 32 years ago, as the victim of domestic abuse.

“While the majority of domestic violence victims are women, men are also victims,” the letter read. “Dennis White and his family were victims.”

The statements are in sharp contrast to allegations outlined in police and court records, as well as a city-commissioned outside probe that relied on four witnesses and included allegations of brutal and repeated domestic violence from White.

Carter said in an interview Monday that his client wants Wednesday’s hearing to be public, and the commissioner is asking Janey “to keep an open mind, and to look for the truth.”

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He said White is expected to make a statement during the Wednesday session.

“If she’s not prepared to reinstate Commissioner White, [Janey should] pause and let a further, deeper investigation occur, which we’re not afraid of,” Carter said.

In a statement Monday afternoon, a Janey spokesman said: “The independent investigation into Dennis White’s behavior speaks for itself.”

That recently completed city investigation described a brutal pattern of domestic abuse allegations against White. The commissioner was accused of burning his former wife’s hair, placing her face to the stove and trying to turn it on, and of throwing a television at her, according to that report.

White also was described as putting his hands on her neck to strangle her, stepping on her face, and stomping on her legs when she tried to escape his kicking.

His former wife said she kept a diary that documented her experiences and shared notes with a relative for safekeeping, stating, “if anything happens to me, I want you to have this diary. . . . If anything happens to me, it would be Dennis.”

The former wife obtained a restraining order against White around the time of the domestic violence allegations. A hearing was held and a judge extended the restraining order by a year, though it was abandoned at some point later during that period.

White’s former wife, who is a Boston police officer, declined to comment Monday. The Globe does not identify alleged victims of domestic violence.

White has not been criminally charged and has denied the allegations.

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Carter said neither Tiffany White or Owens were interviewed by Kaplan. Additional people have also recorded testimony on White’s behalf, and those statements will be released Tuesday, Carter said.

In Monday’s letter to Janey, White’s former wife is described as a “a violent and abusive person” who assaulted him and others.

Tiffany White, who was recorded Saturday at Carter’s office, said she was angry when she read the investigative report on her father’s past.

“I was upset, I cried,” she said. Asked why, the 39-year-old said “It had a lot of lies.”

In the 40-minute interview, she spoke of a chaotic, violent childhood, marked by routine fights and abuse within the household. She portrayed her mother as the aggressor, and she and her father as recipients of beatings.

She did not say whether any of the claims were reported to, or investigated by, police.

Carter, in the interview, said White was “in the dark” while married to his former wife about most of the abuse allegations being publicly made against her by Tiffany White.

Tiffany White alleged her mother punched her in the back as a child, she told her father shortly after that incident, according to Carter.

“He addressed that directly [with his ex-wife] and that ended,” Carter said.

Many years later, after their divorce, Tiffany shared with her father more about what she said had happened between her and her mother, according to Carter.

Earlier this year, Tiffany White denied the allegations against her father to radio station GBH.

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In February, the commissioner’s younger daughter pushed back against Tiffany White’s claim in a Facebook post, writing that, “we all know ur dad’s favorite and u got a personal vendetta with ma, but that man ain’t innocent.”

In recent months, White’s former wife posted a message on Facebook saying she wanted to “set the record straight” after her older daughter disavowed the abuse allegations.

”Since you all think I am a liar . . . Now the truth will come out,” wrote the former wife. “And you know who you are . . . you have just opened Pandora’s Box.”

Danny McDonald and Brendan McCarthy of the Globe staff contributed to this report.



John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.