Military and Police

New Baltimore Police Commissioner in IRS Crosshairs for Failing to File Taxes Several Years

On May 10, 2018, Baltimore police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa was charged with three misdemeanor counts of “failure to file” individual tax returns. At an installation ceremony in February 2018, Baltimore swore-in a 30-year Baltimore veteran police veteran as its top cop overseeing approximately 3,300 police personnel. A resounding echo permeated the airwaves on the day Baltimore’s 40th police commissioner raised his hand and assumed the Police Officer’s Oath. Prominent in the praise were the words directed at De Sousa for his prefaced “commitment to restoring trust in our great city!”

Seems that cart may be strolling before the horse.

The US Attorney’s Office overseeing the District of Maryland issued a written statement declaring Department of Justice charges imposed upon De Sousa. Speaking on behalf of the Justice Department, US attorney Robert K. Hur wrote, “De Sousa 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.

“De Sousa faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $25,000 fine for each of the three counts,” the press release claimed.

Generally, Hur pointed out, “An individual charged by information is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.”

However, it doesn’t appear that will be the necessary course. Police Commissioner De Sousa has owned-up to his failings and declared he is working with a tax adviser to rectify the back taxes and redeem his name as well as the reputation of the police department he now leads.

For his part, De Sousa posted a response and his plans to tidy-up his legal obligations via a Twitter release:

Forgiveness is a virtue. And Commissioner De Sousa’s recourse is all well and good. But it certainly goes against the grain of a police-veteran-turned-leader of a metropolis force who, in his newly-acquired post, seeks to “stamp out police corruption in the wake of an explosive federal investigation that exposed a task force of dirty detectives and deeply embarrassed the department already struggling with low morale and a serious public trust deficit,” Fox News reported.

Commissioner De Sousa’s tax evasion spanned three years and, only when the government told him the gig is up, does he apologize and commence to cleaning up his tax act. Surely a 30-year law enforcement veteran knows tax evasion is a no-no. Public trust?

If tax evasion is a criminal act, what part of stamping out police corruption does it fall under? Should a police executive claiming combat strategies against corruption sweep his own misgivings away? It doesn’t really matter now anyway. Agents with the FBI and the IRS criminal investigation division teamed-up to piece together De Sousa’s failings while attorneys with the Department of Justice authored the criminal affidavits charging Baltimore’s newly-minted police commissioner.

In a well-composed article written by OpsLens Contributor Steve Pomper, Commissioner De Sousa recently went out mingling among Baltimore constituents. He happened to somehow land on the stage and spoke before an Eric B & Rakim hip-hop concert crowd. Not sure about his vocals but De Sousa sang like a sanctimonious birdy seeking some feed. Like returning to the Stone Age expecting to find evolutionary appeal, his message was all wrong, misplaced, extemporaneous, and seemingly incited the hatred he railed against. The crowd was not having it and jeered him to exit stage left.

Again, where is the unification efforts to garner public trust? How is any police official spewing anti-cop rhetoric a salve for fractious relations?

De Sousa’s stage antics remind me of a study I did in October 2016 whereby I penned an OpsLens piece attributed to the same subject matter spoken by a different police executive. The gist in the aforementioned article revolved around erroneous claims made by International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP) president and Wellesley, Massachusetts police Chief Terrence Cunningham who, speaking to thousands of law enforcers in the annual conference audience as well as to those across the nation, claimed that police have been the “face of oppression” for people of color.

De Sousa’s concert-stage garble is likened to Cunningham’s blanket allegations. For both, who granted permission to unilaterally and recklessly speak on behalf of many? When did that mind meld take place?

Who hired De Sousa to his high-echelon post? Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh did. In one of her public addresses after swearing-in De Sousa, Mayor Pugh stated how she was impatient with the tumult, urban decay, and soaring violence throughout Baltimore’s culture, boldly expecting her new police commissioner to get right down to brass tacks. Tacks…tax, who knows?

Well, Mayor Pugh now knows, and this is what she had to say to officially address the huge hiccup:

Will De Sousa survive the criminal federal charges against him? Did this now-public indictment just deflate his commissioner’s bubble and its cushy $210,000 annual salary? Will his mayoral-imposed suspension provide introspection-time to perhaps quietly crawl from the Baltimore swamp? Kind of a microcosm of D.C., huh?

After 71 days at the police helm, another high-ranking favored gladiator goes down in the Baltimore annals of anarchy, corruption, entitlements, and poor decision-making…not much different than the irresponsibility exhibited by former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who infamously cast the grotesque stand-down order (“gave those who wished to destroy space“) to the police force as rioters burned police cars, looted businesses, and otherwise enjoyed a frenzy while a dismayed nation watched a Maryland metropolis go up in smoke.

(Credit: Facebook/Baltimore Police Department)

Baltimore police Commissioner De Sousa’s tax-evasion criminal indictment follows the coattails of now-former Police Commission chairman Marvin McKenstry resigning from his throne after engaging in a tension-filled standoff with a Baltimore policeman conducting a lawful traffic stop. Stay tuned for that analysis…it’s all on police body-cam footage pursuant to Baltimore’s federal consent decree under which McKenstry implored change.

Even though De Sousa got his anti-corruption unit off the ground, he had not yet implemented his intentions to randomly subject his police force to integrity tests and polygraph examinations. Who do you think should be first in that line?

Always seems to be more in Baltimore.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is an OpsLens Content Manager and Contributor. Owsinski is a retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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