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Boston’s brand new police commissioner now on leave over domestic violence allegations

Dennis White was just sworn in as the city's top cop on Monday.

Dennis White was sworn in by Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday as the 43rd commissioner of the Boston Police Department during a ceremony in the Great Hall at Faneuil Hall. Jim Davis / The Boston Globe

BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s new police commissioner was placed on leave late Wednesday after domestic violence allegations from more than 20 years ago surfaced days after he was elevated to the job.

Dennis White, who was sworn in as the city’s top cop on Monday, is under investigation after The Boston Globe raised questions about allegations found in court documents that White pushed and threatened to shoot his then wife, a fellow police officer.

A judge issued a restraining order against White in 1999, ordering him to stay away from wife and children and surrender his service weapon, the newspaper reported.

White’s wife said in her request for a restraining order that “we argue a lot and he is always trying to push me down and I am afraid that he may come inside and kill me because he is angry,” the Globe reported.

White denied the allegations at the time, according to the court papers. The police department referred questions to the city and it was not immediately clear whether White has an attorney to speak on his behalf.

White replaced William Gross, the city’s first Black police commissioner, who abruptly retired Friday after nearly 40 years on the police force.

Gross’ departure came amid talk that he was considering a bid to run for mayor, but Gross has said since the announcement that he has no plans to run for office.

Mayor Marty Walsh had been nominated to be President Joe Biden’s labor secretary, setting off a scramble for the open seat.

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White, a 32-year veteran of the department, previously served as Gross’ chief of staff. He said at his swearing-in ceremony that his late mother had dreamed of him one day becoming the city’s top cop.

Walsh said at the the time that he was confident White would continue the Boston police department’s reputation “as a leader in community policing, and advance the department’s commitment to accountability and transparency.”

Walsh said in an emailed statement that White “was asked to quickly step into the role of Police Commissioner” and that neither he nor his staff were aware of these “disturbing issues.” Walsh said lawyers will conduct an investigation into the allegations.

“Upon learning of these serious allegations, I immediately acted, placing the Commissioner on administrative leave, while corporation counsel engages outside counsel to conduct a full and impartial investigation,” Walsh said.

Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long will serve as acting commissioner, the mayor said.

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