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Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa resigns

Baltimore Police Department
Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa

Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa has submitted and Mayor Catherine Pugh has accepted his resignation. The resignation comes after last week's revelation that De Sousa was charged with three federal misdemeanor charges for failing to file federal and state tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015. 

De Sousa issued a statement taking responsibility for not filing his taxes, saying his only explanation was that he failed to sufficiently prioritize his personal affairs. Mayor Pugh also issued statement expressing confidence and support for De Sousa and holding him to his word to take care of his tax matters as soon as possible. That was Thursday. It was Friday that Mayor Pugh announced De Sousa would be placed on paid suspension until the tax matter has been resolved. 

Tuesday saw the police commissioner submit his resignation ending his 30-year career with the Baltimore police department. 

Mayor Pugh's full statement:

"Today I received the resignation of Darryl De Sousa as Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department and have accepted it. I have initiated a national search to identify the new Commissioner. In the meantime, Gary Tuggle will serve as Interim-Commissioner.

“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,"  said Pugh. "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."

The Baltimore city government's top lawyer has promised more extensive vetting for high-level positions, in the wake of Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa's suspension over criminal tax charges.

City Solicitor Andre Davis told The Baltimore Sun on Monday that Mayor Catherine Pugh's administration is revamping background checks of top appointments, with a team of senior staff members to manage appointments and better document the vetting process. Davis says he was not involved in vetting the commissioner, who was appointed in January.

Pugh has previously said she reviewed De Sousa's internal affairs records as part of the process. Administration officials haven't said if they used private investigators and lie detector tests. Two other Pugh officials recently resigned following questions about their backgrounds, including a spokesman and a deputy civil rights director.