De Sousa Resigns | WYPR

De Sousa Resigns

May 15, 2018

De Sousa resigns after fewer than three months on as police commissioner.
Credit Baltimore Police Dept.

Darryl De Sousa resigned as Baltimore City Police Commissioner Tuesday, four days after Mayor Catherine Pugh suspended him as he dealt with federal tax charges.

Pugh announced she had accepted the resignation shortly before noon and said in a statement it would not affect efforts to reduce crime in the city.

"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," she wrote.

She said Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle will remain as acting commissioner as she launches a national search for a new commissioner. 

In an internal memo sent to the staff Tuesday, Tuggle said he will continue to focus on the department's objectives of reducing crime, the Consent Decree and moving the agency forward.

"We have a long way to go, but I know you are all up for the challenge," wrote Tuggle. "Thank you for your professionalism during these tough times. We will succeed because you all are the professionals who keep our agency moving forward."

De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the city police force, was charged last week with failing to file federal and state income tax returns for three consecutive years, 2013, 2014 and 2015.  He could face one year in prison, and a $75,000 fine if convicted.

De Sousa conceded that he did not file his taxes and said in a statement, he "failed to sufficiently prioritize" his personal affairs.

But De Sousa could face even more trouble. The Baltimore Sun reports that federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas last week to the city police department and the city finance department for 10 years' worth of records about the former commissioner's pay, travel, second jobs and taxes.

When the charges were announced last week, Pugh expressed confidence in her commissioner. But a day later she suspended him with pay while praising him as "an effective leader" whose crime fighting strategies are "the right approaches in our number one priority of reducing violence in our city."

His resignation comes barely four months into his term as commissioner.

Pugh appointed De Sousa interim commissioner in January to succeed Kevin Davis, whom she fired because she had grown "impatient" with the city’s soaring murder rate. The City Council confirmed De Sousa’s appointment in February.

At the time, critics suggested that Pugh should have taken more time in selecting a new commissioner. At her news conference Friday she seemed to agree.

"Let me just say we’ve learned a few lesson," she said. "I thought we vetted him pretty well. We went through his police credentials. He’d been a member of our police department for over 30 years."

City Solicitor Andre Davis said Tuesday that his office will play a role in vetting the mayor’s high-profile appointees.

Gene Ryan, president of the local police union, wrote in a statement the union is "anxious to put these events behind us, and (hopes) that Mayor Pugh can quickly find a suitable replacement."