Concerns raised about new Baltimore police commander

    Concerns raised about new Baltimore police commander

    BALTIMORE (WBFF) - There are serious questions concerning one of the new commanders in Baltimore police commissioner designate Darryl De Sousa's staff.

    FOX45 has obtained a memo sent to De Sousa highlighting the officer's background including two sustained complaints against him.

    Acting police commissioner De Sousa just released his list of appointees Thursday.

    The concerns surround one of the top commanders on that list and the memo shows De Sousa was made aware of them almost two weeks ago.

    Thomas Cassella is at the top of De Sousa's leadership as deputy police commissioner over the operations bureau.

    FOX45 has obtained a document sent to De Sousa from Chief Rodney Hill with BPD's Office of Professional Responsibility.

    The memo is dated Jan. 26, 2018 and titled "background investigations" into Major Thomas Cassella.

    It includes two complaints against Cassella that were deemed "sustained."

    We asked former FBI agent Tyrone Powers what that means.

    "There was evidence what was alleged was in fact done by the individual charged," Powers said.

    One of the sustained complaints is a disciplinary case from March 2003.

    Cassella was investigated for misconduct and neglect of duty.

    It reads "Casella failed to conduct the proper investigation and he did not author an administrative report or an internal incident report pertaining to this incident".

    In the second sustained complaint, Cassella was investigated for race discrimination in an EEOC case.

    It says in February 2006 a complainant alleged Cassella and another major were discriminating against him because of his race and created a hostile work environment.

    "You just don't make a decision based on the fact this is on their record," Powers said. "You go back and look at it again. Especially if you're a new administration, you're a new leader."

    These two past incidents for a top commander in De Sousa's staff could become an issue as the new commissioner will lead a department still dealing with reforms required by the Department of Justice and an ongoing trial involving accusations of police corruption.

    "Everyone they appoint now to every position has to be appropriately vetted," Powers says. "They have to be beyond reproach because we're in a crisis situation in this city."

    We do not know if either of Cassella's sustained incidents ended in corrective action.

    We reached out to BPD about this Thursday.

    We're told commissioner De Sousa was not speaking to the media, instead he'll be holding a press conference Friday morning.

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