Baltimore Police Commissioner Designate Darryl De Sousa took one step closer to officially taking perhaps the most challenging job in American law enforcement; commissioner of the beleaguered Baltimore Police Department (BPD).
Wednesday night the Executive Appointments Committee of the Baltimore City Council voted unanimously for confirmation of De Sousa.
Comments from the public and council members were generally supportive of the 30 year veteran of the BPD. However, the specter of unprecedented scandal within the department, including the death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent uprising of 2015, the release of the Department of Justice’s scathing report on the BPD in 2016, the disbanding of the notorious Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) in 2017, and this week Baltimore being named, “the most dangerous city in the nation,” by USA Today, presents a prodigious challenge for De Sousa.
“We already have everyone’s name that was implicated in the GTTF trials, all those names that came out, we physically have those folders…at police headquarters. I can say at least one of them right now, his police powers have been suspended he is not working the streets,” De Sousa said during the hearing. “We’ll continue to look at each and every single case that we have.”
Baltimore City Councilmen Kristerfer Burnett (D-8) and Zeke Cohen (D-1), both called De Sousa to task for suggesting the issues of misconduct and corruption within the BPD is the result of, “a few bad apples.” It was a statement De Sousa apologized for during the hearing.
“I would like to go back to that Feb. 2nd statement and say that I should have…refrained from saying it as, “bad apples,” and I’m here to apologize for saying it that way,” De Sousa said. “But, what I’m saying here today is, are there bad or corrupt cops in the Baltimore City Police Department? Yes.”
De Sousa faces a final confirmation vote by the full Council Feb. 26.