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Appeals judge to Janey: You may proceed to fire the police commissioner now

A single justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that Acting Mayor Kim Janey can hold the short hearing she's required to before she fires Dennis White as police commissioner.

The ruling by Judge Vickie Henry today upholds a decision by a Suffolk Superior Court judge on Tuesday that Janey has the right to fire White, that she does not have to hold a prolonged trial-like hearing to do so, and that there is no legal reason to give White an emergency order blocking his removal.

In a statement, Janey said she will proceed to schedule the hearing, required by state law, to listen to any last-minute arguments by White before she fires him because of an outside attorney's report on two domestic-violence reports in the 1990s. Janey has said that it's not just what happened then but the way White declined to say anything and the way that a number of BPD officers refused to cooperate with the investigation that convinced her White cannot continue to serve as commissioner.

White has denied that he attacked either his ex-wife or his niece and says no other police commissioner has ever been subject to such scrutiny after he was hired. Then Mayor Marty Walsh appointed White as police commissioner after then Commissioner William Gross suddenly retired earlier this year - but then removed him from duty just two days later after the Globe reported on one of the alleged incidents.

In her ruling, Henry wrote that it's up to the mayor, not a judge, whether an appointed city official should continue in office. She said that does not preclude White from continuing his suit after the fact, just that the courts will not stop Janey from acting now.

The Commissioner does not dispute that he was presented with detailed written notice of the charges against him, an explanation of the City's evidence (a full unredacted copy of the investigator's report), and offered an opportunity to present his side of the story. Finally, I note that the City has stated its intent to "within 48 hours of the Court's decision . . . renew its offer to Commissioner White (and his attorney) to meet with the Acting Mayor to provide any information he wishes her to consider before making her final decision." The City's actions to date, offer to hold a hearing if a preliminary injunction does not issue, and assurance that a final decision has not yet been reached and will not be reached before the hearing, in combination, satisfy the requirements of the Removal Provision and the process due to the Commissioner.

After review of the petition and supporting documents, including the Superior Court judge's thoughtful and detailed memorandum of decision and order, I discern no error of law or abuse of discretion in the denial of the preliminary injunction.

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Comments

Judges is the only thing that separates mayhem from order.

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Voting closed 22

That a wife beating cop and his lawyer thwarted temporarily the plan for Janey to stick Nora Baston in to satisfy the woke crowd on Twittah.

For as we all know, Ms. Baston checks all the boxes in terms of optics for this sham of an “administration” that only has one mandate: protect Marty Walsh and cover for his screwups.

If you think for one second that the smiley public face of the bums that are the Boston Police will be asking any questions about who covered for a child molesting cop and let him rise to run the racists that are the Boston Patrolmen, I have a bridge to sell you to Long Island.

Baston is BPD through and through and it will be business as usual after she’s anointed.

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Voting closed 33

Has she stopped beating her wife?

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Voting closed 44

Not sure about all that Twittah talk, but you're spot on about Baston, the Boston Patrolmen and business as usual. Need to bring the whole system down.

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Voting closed 32

Why not let the next mayor perform a national search and select the best candidate?

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Voting closed 38

I’ve been saying! They have to find someone not from this department.

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Voting closed 5

They aren’t going to know anyone else nationally, and if anyone else in the BPD doesn’t like the new chief it can just be huge headaches for the mayor.

But let’s get something straight here Brian and you know this. This is a political hack position that has to do what the major wants. If you know that it’s someone that most other BPD staff will get behind and respect, it’s an easier decision. The known versus the unkown.

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Voting closed 33

I was going to go to the internets and try to figure out where the commissioners from the 1970s came from, but then I remembered the commissioner during the Marathon Bombing only came to the BPD as commissioner. In short, they have gone outside for the position, and if the idea is that the agency needs reforming, an outsider might be the best choice.

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Voting closed 29

That poor bastard had to deal with the maniacs that were in the TPF. Half the reason besides pay is why he gave up, as I recall

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Voting closed 22

And doing the look later, I would also mark O'Toole as an outsider, as her only BPD job was commissioner.

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Voting closed 18

And reforms come when the next level of management buys in, and then the line below that. If there is a push to remove the top guy at every turn, it just makes it hard to reform, change, implement, etc.

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Voting closed 27

They need someone to kick ass and take names. People are a little tired of useless politicians like Willie Gross and Ed fucking Davis.

Never mind the two Evans brothers. You think the rank and file aren’t going to laugh at Baston?

I’ve already talked to BPD who think she’s a joke. Why do you think that is?

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Voting closed 31

But perhaps because their ideas are well-expressed by Pax Centurion and she is a Black woman?

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Mostly because they don’t consider her a real cop.

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Voting closed 35