BREAKING: Darryl De Sousa resigns as Baltimore Police Commissioner
BALTIMORE (WBFF) -- Mayor Catherine Pugh says she has accepted the resignation of Darryl De Sousa as Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department.
The Commissioner was charged federally last week for failing to file personal income taxes. De Sousa was the third person to hold the post over the last three years and the ninth since 2000. His three misdemeanor charges are the latest embarrassment to rock the beleaguered Baltimore force.
De Sousa, 53, was charged by federal criminal information with three misdemeanor counts of failing to file a U.S. individual tax return.
He "willfully failed to file a federal return for tax years 2013, 2014, and 2015, despite having been a salaried employee of the Baltimore Police Department in each of those years," according to the news release sent by the federal government.
The police commissioner said in a statement shortly after that he "fully" admits to failing to file those taxes, but he did file his 2016 taxes and got an extension for the 2017 taxes.
"I have been working to satisfy the filing requirements and, to that end, have been working with a registered tax advisor," said De Sousa in the statement. "To be clear, I have paid Federal, state and local taxes regularly through the salary withholding process."
"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. 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," the statement continued.
Commissioner De Sousa's attorney Steven Silverman, Esq. issued a statement saying the Commissioner was working with a tax consultant to file past returns and unlike most taxpayers, was not given the chance to offer an explanation or given the opportunity to mitigate the issue before charges were filed.
A tax attorney, Stanley Block told FOX45 that charges are rare saying, "It's because of who he is that the IRS has singled him out," said Block. "It is very uncommon for these charges to be filed."
Block represents clients who have either failed to file or pay their taxes.
"But there's no usual criminal investigations or criminal prosecutions as a result of it," he said. "We represent people who have not filed for many, many, many years - for five, 10 years even - that are not facing these kinds of actions by the IRS."
Baltimore City Councilman Zeke Cohen said, "Law enforcement needs to follow the law. It is critically important that the citizens of Baltimore have complete faith in their police department. I am deeply disappointed by Mr. De Sousa's actions that leave us in this place."
Mayor Pugh said she's initiated a national search to find a new a commissioner.
She said in a statement 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. 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.”
The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement saying they are "anxious to put these events behind us."
Gary Tuggle will serve as interim-commissioner.
De Sousa faces up to a year in prison and a $25,000 for each of the three counts.
The Police Department says the Commissioner's resignation is from the department. He has enough years of service to retire.