What did Marty Walsh know about the past of would-be Police Commissioner Dennis White?

Superior Court judge considering if suspended BPD commissioner will keep job

BOSTON — On Thursday morning, a Boston Superior Court judge heard from the attorney fighting acting Mayor Kim Janey’s firing of embattled Boston Police Commissioner, Dennis White. After the hearing, Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger said she would take it under advisement.

White was placed on administrative leave two days after being appointed commissioner after allegations surfaced of past domestic violence involving his then-wife.

Now, in court affidavits obtained by Boston 25 News, former Police Commissioner William Gross said former Mayor Marty Walsh was aware of White’s internal affair record, which would have included the allegations of domestic violence against White.

On Thursday evening, only Boston 25 News was at Logan Airport when now Labor Secretary Walsh returned to Boston, and reporter Jason Law asked Walsh about what he knew.

Boston 25: “Can you just clear up what you knew and when you knew it with…”

Walsh: “I’ve been pretty clear about. I put my statements out the other day and I’m going to stick to that.”

Boston 25: “Commissioner Gross said you knew in 2014.”

Walsh: “Yeah, I put a statement out yesterday and I addressed that.”

Boston 25: “Should you have known as Mayor if you didn’t know when you appointed Mr. White?”

Walsh: “In 2014?”

Boston 25: “Well, just at any time.”

Walsh: “Again, I put my all my statements out there. I’ll leave it at that.”

Boston 25: “One last question. Congressman Moulton said you should resign if you knew about the allegations.”

Walsh: “Yeah, I talked to the Congressman earlier today and he said he didn’t say that, so you’ll have to ask him that.”

Boston 25: “He denied that to you?”

Walsh: “Yes, to me he did. Thank you.”

In a statement released Wednesday, Walsh said:

“As I said on February 3, I 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. Had I known, I would not have chosen him for police commissioner or any other role.”

According to the affidavit, Gross said Walsh was briefed several years ago about White’s internal affairs record when White was up for a promotion.

Walsh’s statement is being backed up by William Evans, who was commissioner at the time. Evans told Boston 25 News that neither he nor Walsh had any knowledge of White’s past.

Evans statement said, “Troubling to me that they would testify under oath on something that is not accurate.”

Last Friday, Mayor Janey was expected to name a new police commissioner, but White’s lawyers filed a motion to stop the effort.

White’s lawyers told the judge, the allegations should not be grounds for Acting Mayor Janey to terminate him now.

“The city cannot hire him knowing something and then fire him for the things they knew about.” Nick Carter, White’s lawyer, said.

But the city’s lawyer said that whatever former Mayor Walsh knew at the time is irrelevant today. She argued that acting Mayor Janey has the authority to terminate White’s contract and does not need the court to intervene.

“Boston deserves a police department that is consistent with Mayor Janey’s vision of integrity and accountability. It has to move forward,” attorney Kay Hodge said.

Janey released the following statement after Thursday’s hearing saying, “I respect Judge Brieger’s decision to take more time before issuing a ruling in this case and appreciate her intent to rule as soon as possible. The people of Boston and the Boston Police Department deserve leadership that shares our goal of safety, healing, and justice. We look forward to the court’s ruling.”


This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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