Dennis White, the former Boston police commissioner who was fired last month following the reemergence of decades-old domestic violence allegations, is now alleging gender and race discrimination in federal litigation against the city and Acting Mayor Kim Janey.
In court filings this week, White sought to bring nine new claims, mostly arising from his firing. He also sought to file a second amended complaint.
White’s attorneys argue that Janey and the city treated their client “in a discriminatory manner based on his sex, making adverse assumptions concerning victims in heterosexual domestic violence.”
“The Acting Mayor’s gender-based prejudices that a man could not be a victim of domestic violence in this matter, resulted in the Acting Mayor’s erroneous dismissal and rejection of the sworn statements demonstrating that Mr. White was the victim, not the perpetrator, of domestic violence,” they wrote in court documents.
They also alleged that the city treated White, who is Black, “in a manner which it has never treated a white Commissioner.” The city treated White differently by saying he was not properly vetted for the commissioner post when the process for his vetting was the same as past white commissioners who were promoted from within the department, according to his attorneys.
“No white Police Commissioner with a similar record of service and achievement has ever been treated with such disregard and disdain,” they wrote.
His attorneys also are seeking to make claims against the city for violating the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, defamation, violating his privacy rights, and breach of implied contract, among other claims. White also continues to seek an injunction that would require “a constitutionally mandated name-clearing hearing,” which he says he did not receive during his termination process.
Janey’s office said they had no comment on the pending litigation. “Mayor Janey is focused on leading the city and the police department forward,” a spokeswoman said via e-mail.
Janey fired White on June 7, ending months of chaos atop the department sparked by the reemergence of decades-old domestic abuse allegations against him shortly after he took the job in February.
In announcing White’s full removal from the nation’s oldest police force, Janey cited White’s own statements where he admitted to pushing and hitting members of his household. She said the allegations and evidence raised serious questions about his fitness to lead Boston police.
Sworn in Feb. 1, White served in the role for only two days before he was placed on leave following a Globe inquiry into past domestic violence allegations.
White was accused in 1999 of striking and threatening to shoot his then-wife, also a Boston police officer, as well as of hitting a 19-year-old woman in a separate incident in 1993. White has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and was never charged with a crime.
The White case has become a significant political issue in Boston, with all six major mayoral candidates saying that White could not continue as police commissioner. A recent poll by the Globe and Suffolk University found that 52 percent of likely Boston voters felt Janey’s firing of White was justified.
Additionally, former police commissioner William Gross, who is White’s friend and predecessor as the department’s leader, said in an explosive court filing recently that former mayor Martin J. Walsh knew about White’s internal affairs history before he appointed him to lead the force. White also released a sworn statement in which he recounted telling Walsh that he had been the subject of a restraining order when he was accused in the late 1990s of threatening to shoot his former wife.
Such statements directly contradicted Walsh, who has insisted since February that he did not know about the accusations detailed in the commissioner’s internal affairs history. Walsh, who is now the nation’s labor secretary, has since repeated that he did not know of the accusations, and his account was backed up by another former police commissioner, William Evans.
White has argued that Janey has no grounds to fire him, since his past had already been disclosed and considered before his appointment.