BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has placed Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa on paid suspension following the charges against him for failure to file his taxes.
Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle has been appointed as acting commissioner.
Just more than two months after being sworn in as the city’s top cop, Baltimore’s 40th police commissioner has now apologized for what he called “a failure to prioritize his personal affairs.”
However, his attorney is now arguing that De Sousa wasn’t given a chance to fix his mistake because he didn’t learn about the investigation until after the charges were filed.
De Sousa’s attorney, Steve Silverman, released the following statement:
“The Commissioner was not afforded an opportunity to offer an explanation or mitigation prior to the filing of the charges because he did not learn of the investigation until after the charges were filed. Most taxpayers in this situation are first given an opportunity to cure-by filing belated tax returns. Criminal charges are usually a last resort by the government after the tax payer has ignored the government’s warning. 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. It is also noteworthy that Commissioner De Sousa was at all time a W-2 employee of Baltimore city and subject to withholdings. This is not a situation where he failed to pay any taxes.”
De Sousa was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failure to file a U.S. tax return.
Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that De Sousa failed to file a federal return for 2013, 2014 and 2015, while he was employed by the Baltimore Police Department.
He faces a maximum of three year in prison and a $75,000 fine if found guilty on all three charges.
Pugh also released the below statement following Friday’s announcement:
“Upon review of the circumstances surrounding Commissioner Darryl De Sousa’s failure to file tax returns for successive years, I have placed him on paid suspension, effective immediately.
“Commissioner De Sousa has been an effective leader of the Police Department as the downward trend in violence makes clear. His implementation of innovative crime disruption and violence mitigation strategies and commitment to Constitutional community policing, I believe, are the right approaches in our number one priority of reducing violence in our City and they will continue. That said, I believe his suspension pending resolution of this matter is in the best interest of the Baltimore Police Department, the City of Baltimore and him personally.
“I am appointing Deputy Commissioner Gary Tuggle as acting-commissioner. Deputy Commissioner Tuggle is currently responsible for the Strategic Investigations and Support Services Bureau. Deputy Commissioner Andre Bonaparte will continue in his responsibility of overseeing the Operations Bureau.
“All Baltimore citizens can be assured that these developments will in no way impede our relentless efforts to make our City safer.”
The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police released a statement on Thursday, urging De Sousa to “relieve himself of his duties, effective immediately, until this matter is resolved.”
De Sousa’s twin brother, Jason, spoke alongside a group of supporters on Friday.
“The time period when that occurred was when he was the leader of our family in taking care of both my mom and dad who were suffering from Alzheimer’s and the worst point,” he said. “We, the community organizations, as well as police officers stand side-by-side in support of commissioner Darryl De Sousa.”