BOSTON (CBS) – Superintendent Nora Baston will be named the next Boston Police Commissioner, sources told WBZ-TV's I-Team. But that appointment is on hold as current Commissioner Dennis White, who was placed on administrative leave amid past domestic violence allegations, filed a lawsuit to stop acting Mayor Kim Janey from firing him.
"I ask for our city's patience as we await the court's ruling," Janey said at a news conference Friday. "We cannot name a new commissioner until we deal with the current situation."
White has been on administrative leave since February 3, two days after he was sworn in, because of a domestic incident with his ex-wife years ago. An independent investigator was hired to look into the decades-old allegations.
Janey received the investigator's report April 29 and announced her decision at a news conference Friday. She said the investigation "revealed a culture of fear and silence within the Boston Police department," with officers refusing to talk to investigators.
"What is often referred to as a 'blue wall of silence' was confirmed by one retired officer, who said he received five phone calls directing him not to cooperate with this investigation," Janey said. "It is clear from the report that we have to move in a different direction."
She said that going forward, all candidates for department leadership will be subject to vetting and background checks.
Commissioner White's attorney, Nick Carter, said Janey does not have the power to remove him.
"Any removal would require a hearing and cause, and there is no cause to remove him," Carter said. "Commissioner White, a Black man and only the second Black police commissioner in Boston's history, is being treated very badly and in violation of the law."
Carter said Commissioner White has been one of Baston's main mentors.
"Commissioner Dennis White doesn't oppose Nora Baston and applauds her success," Carter said. "However, the decision today is wrong. There is already a Boston Police Commissioner, Dennis White."
Baston became a Boston Police officer in 1996. She's currently the department Chief Bureau of Community Engagement and would be the first Black woman to be police commissioner. Kathleen O'Toole was the first woman to be Boston Police Commissioner, back in 2004.
With Baston's promotion, Boston's mayor, police commissioner and top prosecutor, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins, will all be Black women.
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