Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa has resigned and a national search has been launched to find his replacement, Mayor Catherine Pugh announced Tuesday.
“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 (D) said in a statement.
The announcement of De Sousa’s resignation comes after he was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failing to file federal income tax returns by federal prosecutors last week.
His resignation was from the department entirely, ending a 30-year career.
He could not immediately be reached for comment. One of his attorneys in the ongoing federal case declined to comment on his resignation.
Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle will be the interim commissioner, Pugh’s office said.
Tuggle could not immediately be reached for comment but said in a department-wide email that his “focus is on crime, the Consent Decree, and moving this agency forward.”
De Sousa’s resignation comes as the department continues to implement mandated changes under its consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department. The federal agency found widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory policing practices in the department after an investigation that concluded in 2016.
The federal charges against De Sousa, unsealed Thursday, allege that he willfully failed to file federal income tax returns in 2013, 2014 and 2015. De Sousa admitted in a statement on Twitter the same day that he did not file state or federal tax returns in those years but did have taxes withheld from his police salary.
He wrote there was “no excuse” for his failure to “fulfill my obligations as a citizen and public official” and that his “only explanation” was that he had “failed to sufficiently prioritize my personal affairs.”
His attorneys have pushed back against prosecutors, saying De Sousa was not given the opportunity other taxpayers receive to explain or file missing returns before being charged criminally. Attorney Steven Silverman wrote in a statement, “Had the government made an inquiry prior to charging, the government would have learned that Commissioner De Sousa was in the process of seeking assistance from a professional tax consultant to file all past due returns.”
De Sousa was appointed the city’s top police officer on Jan. 19, the same day Pugh fired his predecessor, Kevin Davis, citing stubbornly high levels of violence.
De Sousa’s tenure in the top job is among the shortest in modern history but not the shortest.
The police union that represents rank-and-file officers in the city issued a statement Tuesday saying members “are anxious to put these events behind us and hope that Mayor Pugh can quickly find a suitable replacement” for De Sousa.