Less than a week after the Department of Justice charged Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa with failure to file federal and state income taxes for three consecutive years, Baltimore’s top cop resigned on Tuesday after being suspended last Friday with pay.
“Today I received the resignation of Darryl De Sousa as Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department and have accepted it,” Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh said in a statement, reprinted below:
“I want to reassure all Baltimoreans that this development in no way alters our strategic efforts to reduce crime by addressing its root causes in our most neglected neighborhoods. This broad-based, grassroots approach – underpinned by the utilization of new crime-fighting technology – is working and will continue to be effective as indicated by the downward trend in violence. The Baltimore Police command staff is fully committed to bringing about the reforms to the practices and culture of the department that we are implementing and which are vital to ensuring the trust and confidence of all our citizens.”
“As mayor, I will not let up in pursuing my top priority of making our City safe and our neighborhoods worthy of the lives of all residents.”
According to Jayne Miller, an investigative reporter for WBAL, the mayor’s office has already started a national search for a new police commissioner, while deputy commissioner, Gary Tuggle serves as Interim-Commissioner.
De Sousa’s downward spiral started last Thursday when he was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failing to file income taxes. Federal investigators said he “willfully failed to file a federal tax return” for tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015, while he was employed with the Baltimore Police Department.
In a statement on Twitter, De Sousa admitted to failing to file his federal and state taxes, but within the statement, he did add that his 2016 taxes were filed, and 2017 had an extension.
“While there is no excuse for my failure to fulfill my obligations as a citizen and public official, my only explanation is that I failed to sufficiently prioritize my personal affairs,” he said.
“Naturally, this is a source of embarrassment for me and I deeply regret any embarrassment it has caused the Police Department and the City of Baltimore. I accept full responsibility for this mistake and am committed to resolving this situation as quickly as possible.”
My statement: pic.twitter.com/1DCD2v4dFF
— Darryl De Sousa (@Darryl_De_Sousa) May 10, 2018
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 President Gene Ryan said in a statement, “The men and women of the Baltimore Police Department are aware of the resignation of Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa today. We are anxious to put these events behind us and hope that Mayor Pugh can quickly find a suitable replacement. Our members deserve consistency in their leadership; however, as they are all highly trained professional law enforcement personnel, they will stay fully mission focused in the interim.”
De Sousa became Baltimore’s top cop in January, after Mayor Pugh fired ex-Commissioner Kevin Davis, citing a surge of violent crime after the 2015 Baltimore Riots.
“I’m impatient,” Pugh said at a news conference in January. “We need more violence reduction. We need the numbers to go down faster than they are.”
CNN explains how Baltimore was transformed into one of the most dangerous cities in America:
“Baltimore had 343 homicides in 2017, according to the city’s police department. Baltimore had a rate of 51.4 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2016, well above Chicago’s 28.07 homicides per 100,000 residents and New York City’s 3.9 per 100,000 residents.
Baltimore was the site of riots in April 2015 after 25-year-old Freddie Gray died in police custody. The Justice Department, under President Barack Obama, later issued a report saying that black residents were subject to disproportionate rates of stops, searches and arrests.
Last year, several police officers with the now-defunct Gun Trace Task Force were indicted on federal racketeering charges of robbing people, claiming fraudulent overtime and filing false affidavits. Two officers were convicted and six other officers pleaded guilty to federal charges.”
Meanwhile we hope that Baltimore is successful in its search for a top cop replacement, although we realize that finding that rare public servant who believes in paying their fair share while protecting and upholding the law is not going to be an easy task.