Labor Secretary Martin Walsh has denied he was aware of domestic violence allegations against the Boston Police commissioner when he appointed him to that position. Walsh tapped Dennis White for the job shortly after being nominated for labor secretary early this year.
White was put on administrative leave just days after his appointment when past allegations of domestic violence — which he has denied — surfaced, according to The Boston Globe, which first reported the news.
White’s attorney filed a lawsuit against the city and its acting mayor to prevent White from being fired, arguing Wednesday that his client was denied due process in the action and that “the allegations by his ex-wife from twenty years ago, which were resolved in court in 1999 and known to the City and Boston Police Department throughout the following two decades as he was promoted multiple times, including to Commissioner, do not constitute cause to remove White.”
In an affidavit, former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross implied that Walsh was aware of the allegations against White. Gross stated that in 2014, he and the commissioner at the time, William Evans, reviewed candidates for promotion including White, a process that required them to go through Internal Affairs files.
“Once Evans and I had the candidates for promotion selected, they were presented to Mayor Martin Walsh, who was briefed on each candidate and their IA history,” the affidavit read. “There is no way anyone is brought into the Command Staff without such a briefing to the Mayor and approval by the Mayor.”
“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,” Walsh said in a statement to CNN. “Had I known, I would not have chosen him for police commissioner or any other role.”
The Boston Police Department did not immediately return a CNN request for comment.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts said more answers were needed.
“There are a number of questions that everybody wants to know about this whole situation,” Moulton told the Globe. “We obviously need to know all the facts about his vetting. If it turns out Secretary Walsh is lying, he should resign as well.”
Moulton spokesman Tim Biba confirmed to CNN that the congressman’s comments to the Globe were accurate.
“He wants to learn more,” Biba said told CNN.