A former Boston police commissioner said in a legal document that former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh knew about domestic violence allegations against current Police Commissioner Denis White, who's been placed on leave amid an investigation.
William Gross, the former Boston police commissioner, said in the affidavit that Walsh would have known about the allegations because he reviewed White's nomination for a command staff post in 2014, and his internal affairs file would have been included in it. But Walsh on Wednesday reiterated a previous denial that he'd known about the allegations.
The affidavit, taken Monday, is cited in a new court filing from White's lawyer ahead of a hearing Thursday; the filing says that the city can't fire White for something that was already known to leaders. The affidavit was first reported by WBUR.
White was placed on leave in February, shortly after Walsh appointed him as police commissioner, over allegations that White pushed and threatened to shoot his then wife, a fellow police officer, which White denies.
White's attorney went to court last week to stop Kim Janey, who replaced Walsh as mayor last month after Walsh was confirmed as U.S. secretary of Labor, from removing him as commissioner.
Gross said in the affidavit that the mayor was briefed on the internal affairs files of all people nominated for the Boston Police Department's command staff, its leadership group: "There is no way anyone is brought onto the Command Staff without such a briefing to the Mayor and approval by the Mayor."
In his own affidavit, White also says his internal affairs file was reviewed as part of the process.
But Walsh said in a statement Wednesday evening that he never received the allegations or internal affairs files while considering White for promotions, and that he'd have held off appointing him if he did.
"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," Walsh said.
When he announced he was putting White on leave in February, Walsh had said, "These disturbing issues were not known to me or my staff, but should have been at the forefront."
William Evans, who was commissioner when White was nominated to the command staff, maintains that neither he nor Walsh knew of the allegations. However, his predecessor, Ed Davis, told the Boston Globe that the process that Gross "described is consistent with the way I operated."
"Mayor Walsh nor I had any prior knowledge of his prior disturbing domestic violence history," Evans said in a statement. "Mayor Walsh was never briefed on it nor I made aware of that back in 2014. It's troubling to me they would say that under oath when they know that’s not accurate."
After the allegations — investigated decades ago by the Boston Police Department's internal affairs office — came to light this year, they were investigated by city lawyers. White was never charged and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, including in his affidavit.
Still, Janey said last week the investigation uncovered "a culture of fear and silence" within the Boston Police Department, with many officers refusing to speak with the people looking into the allegations.
"This investigation of Dennis White reveals a flawed process and a misguided department culture. It is clear from the report that we have to move in a different direction," Janey said.
She said she told the commissioner that the department needs to move in a different direction. Janey also told reporters she can't name a new commissioner until the legal situation involving White is resolved.
A hearing in White's civil lawsuit is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.
In his affidavit, White argues he deserves the chance to have a hearing where he can restore his damaged reputation.
"I believe I am entitled to a hearing before this Court where I can present evidence, including witnesses, and can confront and cross-examine any witnesses against me in order to challenge my termination and to restore my reputation," he said in the affidavit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.