Baltimore mayor has fired a police commissioner
Every few years usually when violent crime is rising the mayor of Baltimore fires the police commissioner.
Martin O’Malley did it in 2004, using a SWAT team to oust Kevin Clark. Sheila Dixon fired Leonard Hamm amid a crime wave in 2007. And, Stephanie Rawlings Blake axed Anthony Batts after the riot of 2015.
Now Mayor Catherine Pugh has made the familiar move, firing Police Commissioner Kevin Davis after a third consecutive year of more than 300 homicides, which raises a familiar question: Will this time make a difference?
Baltimore suffered 343 homicides in 2017 the second most in a single year, and the most per capita in city history. More than 1,
000 people were shot last year.
At the same time, the department has reeled from scandal to scandal. Officers have been accused of planting evidence and lying in court. Two members of the elite Gun Trace Task Force go on trial Monday on federal racketeering charges; six others already have pleaded guilty.
“I think it’s naive to think that simply changing police commissioners will solve all the problems in the Baltimore Police Department and crime in Baltimore City,” said Bishop Douglas Miles, a leader with influential church group BUILD. “We’ve been down this road before.”
Pugh turned the police department over to Darryl De Sousa, a 30 year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department who served as a deputy commissioner under Davis. The mayor said she had grown “impatient” with Davis’ efforts to reduce crime.