May 11, 2018 / 3:19 AM / 6 months ago

Baltimore's top cop charged with failing to file taxes

(Reuters) - Federal prosecutors charged Baltimore’s police commissioner on Thursday with failing to file income taxes for the three years up to 2015 in another blow to the United States’ eighth-biggest police department.

Darryl De Sousa, who has headed the 3,100-strong department since January, was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failure to file an individual tax return in 2013, 2014 and 2015, prosecutors in Maryland said in a statement.

De Sousa, 53, admitted that he had not filed federal or state taxes for the three years but had paid some taxes through paycheck withholding. He said he had filed taxes for 2016 and had received an extension for 2017.

“My only explanation is that I failed to sufficiently prioritize my personal affairs,” he said in a statement.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said she had “full confidence” in De Sousa. “He is working to resolve this matter and has assured me that he will do so as quickly as possible,” she said in a statement.

If convicted, De Sousa faces up to a year in prison and a $25,000 fine for each count.

De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore force, was promoted to commissioner after Pugh fired his predecessor, Kevin Davis, because of stubbornly high levels of violent crime.

De Sousa took over a department marred last year by the arrests on racketeering charges of officers in a gun crimes unit accused of shaking down city residents for thousands of dollars.

Baltimore police are operating under a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department that came after investigators found officers regularly violated African-Americans’ civil rights, including through strip searches and excessive force.

The decree stemmed from rioting in 2015 triggered by the death of a black man, Freddie Gray, after his arrest by police.

Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Paul Tait

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