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Evans and Walsh Deny Knowledge of Domestic Abuse Allegations Against Newly Appointed Police Commissioner

Boston College Police Department (BCPD) Chief William Evans is defending himself and former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh against claims that they were aware of previous allegations of domestic abuse against the newly appointed Boston Police Department (BPD) Commissioner Dennis White, who was fired on Monday.

In two sworn affidavits, however, former BPD Commissioner William Gross and White, who was appointed commissioner by Walsh, BC ’09, in January and was put on leave shortly after, say otherwise, according to The Boston Globe. The affidavits were filed in May as a part of an injunction by White to prevent Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey from firing him. 

Three days after Gross abruptly retired from BPD—where he worked for more than 30 years—White was sworn in as commissioner. Two days later, after The Globe inquired about BPD’s handling of a 1999 domestic abuse case against White, White was put on leave pending an investigation.

After a months-long suspension, Janey fired White on Monday, citing White’s own acknowledgement of physical abuse of members of his household, according to The Boston Globe.

White’s former wife Sybil Mason accused him of pushing, hitting, and threatening to shoot her. A judge issued a restraining order against White on May 5, 1999, that ordered him to stay away from his wife and children and to give up his service weapon, according to The Globe.

White released a sworn statement on June 1 in which he stated that prior to his appointment in January, he had conversations with Walsh regarding the restraining order against him. White also released a sworn statement from a former superintendent that said he had prepared a brief on White’s past to be presented to Evans and Walsh prior to his promotion to command staff, according to The Globe.

Walsh and Evans denied previous knowledge of White’s internal affairs history.

“No one ever told me about his past,” Evans told the Globe. “If other people were briefed, it never made it to me.”

On May 17, Gross filed a sworn affidavit that said Walsh would have been made aware of White’s internal affairs history when he was promoted to command staff in 2014. Gross said he and Evans, who was then the BPD commissioner, would pick candidates for promotions to be presented to Walsh, who would then be briefed on the candidate’s internal affairs history. 

White backed up Gross’ statements in his own affidavit, saying that his internal affairs file was reviewed in 2014 as part of the vetting process. 

Walsh denied any knowledge of White’s history prior to this February, however, saying he hadn’t been made aware of White’s past before appointing him as commissioner, according to The Globe

Evans supported Walsh’s statements, telling The Globe that any allegations that Walsh was briefed on White’s internal affairs history are false, and that mayors aren’t typically briefed on internal affairs files for command staff posts.

Edward Davis, however, another former BPD commissioner, told The Globe that while he was commissioner, he would brief the mayor on command staff posts.

“There is no way anyone is brought onto the command staff without such a briefing to the mayor and approval by the mayor,” Gross said in the affidavit. “The city, including Mayor Walsh, was aware no later than January 2014 of White’s IA record.”

The University and Evans did not respond to a request for comment from The Heights.

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June 10, 2021