The outside report released by Acting Mayor Janey on Friday about suspended Police Commissioner Dennis White's domestic-violence allegations doesn't make anybody involved look good.
The allegations against White include physical violence against his former wife, herself a Boston cop. According to witnesses cited in the report, these included pressing her face to a stove and trying to turn it on, choking her, throwing a TV at her, stepping on her face and just generally attacking her so severely she was left with permanent scars on her wrists and shoulder.
He also allegedly "coerced [his wife] into sexual activities in which she did not want to participate," and disabled their car so she couldn't drive it. He also slept with a gun under his pillow, in case his wife's alleged lover showed up at their house - even as he was himself was allegedly having his own affairs.
In both an interview with the investigator and in the lawsuit he filed to block his firing as commissioner, White denied all the allegations. In the interview, he said he and his wife, whom he outweighed by roughly 70 pounds, engaged in mutual shoving, but that nothing ever escalated beyond that. In his lawsuit, he said the allegations are all hearsay and lies and would not be admissible in court.
The report also details an incident in which he allegedly shoved his niece down some stairs, in a fight that started over $10 she owed him. Both brought criminal charges against each other; both cases were dismissed.
The 14-page report, by Tamsin Kaplan, an employment attorney at the law firm of Davis Malm, doesn't even get to the allegations against White until the middle of the fifth page. Kaplan, hired by the city to look into the allegations after Walsh placed White on administrative leave just two days after appointing him, first detailed all the ways in which City Hall and BPD interfered with what was supposed to be an "independent" investigation, as well as by White's growing reluctance to talk to her after an initial interview.
Kaplan wrote that the city's office of corporation counsel, headed by Walsh appointee Eugene O'Flaherty, abruptly told her on Feb. 22 she had to finish her report by Feb. 24 - even though she had told city lawyers a few days earlier she'd need until the end of March. She submitted "a brief memorandum" outlining her findings. Then, on March 1, the office told her to start the investigation back up; she replied she'd now need until mid-April to complete her work.
Once Walsh left, Kaplan continues,, acting BPD Commissioner Greg Long, assigned to the post after White was put on leave, refused to order officers to cooperate with Kaplan's investigation - after, Kaplan writes, Long conferred with Chris Osgood, Acting Mayor Kim Janey's chief of staff. On Friday, Janey cited the report as her reason to try to replace White as commissioner.
In addition to Long's non-cooperation, Kaplan detailed issues with BPD: The department had no records at all on the allegations against White, supposedly because they were filed before the department computerized internal-affairs records in 2007 (in contrast, the department did have records from the mid-1990s about child-rape allegations against Officer Patrick Rose).
One officer who had been working on domestic-violence cases was transferred out of her unit after she investigated the White case.
BPD refused to give Kaplan contact information for officers she wanted to talk to. Also:
During the course of this investigation, in addition lo Commissioner White, I attempted to contact 21 witnesses, including 12 current and retired Boston Police Officers and 9 civilians. I was able to speak with a total of 7 of the 21 witnesses from whom I sought information. I was also sent an unsolicited emajl from someone claiming to be a former Boston Police Officer, attesting to Commissioner White's good character. One retired BPD officer told me that they had received at least five phone calls directing them not to talk with me. They explained, "many people say don't do anything against a police officer." To address witness discomfort and concerns about retaliation. 1 assured most of the witnesses with whom I spoke that they would not be identified by name in this report.