Officers reject inevitable basic reforms, reality, from BPD to DOC to Cape Cod
It appears that Boston Mayor Kim Janey may finally get the chance to choose Boston’s next police commissioner, and to dump the alleged domestic abuser who currently holds the position (albeit on administrative leave).
In mid-May, Janey attempted to formally replace Dennis White as commissioner based on the findings of an external investigation into his alleged abuse that painted him as a vicious and violent individual. White had already been on leave since February when the abuse allegations reemerged in a Boston Globe article.
The mayor told White of her intentions on the morning of May 14. By the afternoon, White had sued the city, claiming that Janey’s attempt to fire him was illegal. White would then admit in court that the city had presented him with a written notice of Janey’s intention, an explanation of the city’s evidence, and the opportunity to defend himself in a hearing with the mayor—all of which fulfill Janey’s requirements for lawfully firing him.
This is likely why two weeks later, White quickly lost his appeal after the superior court judge also ruled against him.
White argued that he was entitled to a hearing in front of a judge or similar authority figure where he can call witnesses before he can be removed from office. White’s attorney failed to present any actual statute or case law that supported White’s claim.
“Moreover, I discern little likelihood of success in the Commissioner’s claim that he was deprived of due process, particularly in light of the pre-removal hearing offered by the City,” Associate Justice Vickie Henry wrote in the court order in favor of Janey.
Supposedly, Janey considered firing White for being a Randolph resident instead of living in Boston, but chose not to after realizing that Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory Long, currently acting as commissioner while White is on leave, would also have to go because he is a Canton resident.
Take that information with a grain of salt, since it comes from White’s court filings.
Meanwhile, Janey already announced that she plans to move forward with her plans to replace White.
“It is time to move the Boston Police Department in a new direction toward our vision of safety, healing, and justice,” she said in a statement following the appellate court ruling.
Speaking of law enforcement figures taking losses, the Department of Homeland Security cancelled its enforcement agreement with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.
Thomas Hodgson, who has served as Bristol’s sheriff since 1997, entered into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security in 2016 that granted the sheriff authority to enforce immigration violations. More specifically, it meant that a portion of the Bristol prison system was set aside to house suspected immigration violators.
A report from the state attorney general’s office released last December found that the Bristol Sheriff’s Department improperly used a flash-bang grenade, pepper-ball launchers, pepper-spray canisters, and canines against non-violent detainees.
“I understand the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, is of minimal operational significance to the agency. Moreover, there is ample evidence that the Detention Center’s treatment of detained individuals and the conditions of detention are unacceptable,” wrote Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in the memo announcing the termination of the detainment deal with Bristol County.
In response, Hodgson held a press conference on May 21 where he ranted about the Biden Administration putting the people of Massachusetts in danger.
“This is no different than the defunding of the police. It’s outrageous,” Hodgson argued.
Aside from Bristol, the sheriffs’ departments for Plymouth and Barnstable both have similar contracts, as does the Mass Department of Correction.
“The Department of Homeland Security should end all of these contracts promptly, and if it does not, the Massachusetts state legislature should move to end them,” ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose said in a statement.
Aside from the actions of his Homeland Security chief, President Joe Biden is backpedaling on his pledges to reform law enforcement in record time.
Most recently, Biden missed his self-imposed deadline to deliver a comprehensive police reform bill in time for the May 25 anniversary of the death of George Floyd.
At the time of this writing, the Democrat-majority House has already passed its version of the George Floyd police reform bill, which includes bans on choke holds and some no-knock warrants, in federal drug cases, and would reduce the ability for police officers to claim qualified immunity in court to protect them from legal action.
Predictably, Republican opposition has hindered its ability to pass the Senate.
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is reportedly leading the Republican side of negotiations on a police reform bill. On the anniversary of Floyd’s death, he released a joint statement with Democratic senator Cory Booker vaguely stating that although there was no bipartisan agreement in the Senate, the parties “continue to make progress toward a compromise and remain optimistic about the prospects of achieving that goal.”
Optimism aside, Scott later said that he believed it was “June or bust,” essentially saying he would give it a few more weeks before Democrats should probably give up yet another attempt at reform.