Baltimore’s Top Cop Resigns Days After Being Charged With Not Filing Tax Returns

By Brakkton Booker NPR

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigned Tuesday, days after federal prosecutors charged him with failing to file three years of federal tax returns.

Mayor Catherine Pugh announced that she has accepted De Sousa’s resignation and launched a national search to find a replacement. She also told residents that De Sousa’s departure, just a few months after he started in that position, will not deter the city from fighting crime.

“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,” Pugh said in a statement.

“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.”

Last week, federal prosecutors charged De Sousa with “willfully” failing to file returns for tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Baltimore Sun reports that De Sousa faces possible prison time and fines of up to $75,000 for all charges.

De Sousa, in a statement posted to Twitter last week, said he accepted full responsibility for not filing the returns, although he emphasized that he had paid taxes through withholdings from his salary. He called his failure to file returns “a source of embarrassment.”

“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 added.

This is the latest black eye for a police department already under intense scrutiny.

In February, a federal jury convicted a pair of Baltimore detectives of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and robbery for their role in the corruption scandal involving the city’s Gun Trace Task Force.

Last year, the city of Baltimore and the Justice Department entered into a court-enforceable consent decree to resolve findings by the DOJ report that said the Baltimore Police Department disproportionately targeted African-Americans for stops and arrests.

In 2015, Baltimore erupted in riots after the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, who died from a spinal cord injury sustained while in police custody.

Baltimore has also been plagued by a surge of homicides in recent years.

The 343 murders in 2017 set a grim city record for killings per capita, according to The Associated Press. The city has surpassed 300 homicides for three years running.

De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, was supposed to help in that effort when he was named the city’s top cop earlier this year. He replaced Kevin Davis who was fired in January.

Pugh said Gary Tuggle, who had been serving as acting commissioner since Friday, will now serve as interim commissioner.

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