BPD Drops De Sousa’s Deputy Commissioner Days After Leaked Memo

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Police Commissioner-Designate Darryl De Sousa, flanked by his picks for command staff. Still via Facebook/Baltimore Police Department.

Retired police Maj. Thomas Cassella won’t be joining the Baltimore Police Department’s upper ranks as initially planned.

“Thomas Cassella and I have mutually agreed that it is in the best interest of the agency to not move forward with his appointment,” Commissioner-Designate Darryl De Sousa said in a statement issued this morning. “Due to the extreme sensitivity of the content of personnel records, I am not at liberty to discuss the matter further.”

Fox 45 first reported last Thursday that Cassella, a 23-year veteran of the force who retired as a major in 2007 and reportedly went on to serve as director of security at Horseshoe Casino, among other jobs, had been accused of racial discrimination by a member of the department in 2006. Another complaint filed against him in 2003 accused him of “misconduct and neglect of duty” for “fail[ing] to conduct a proper investigation” and not filing an internal incident or administrative report, a leaked document said.

The department sustained both complaints, according to the document, which is to say that they were substantiated in internal investigations.

De Sousa had picked Cassella and Andre Bonaparte, another retired police official, to serve as his two deputies, according to a revamped organizational chart that police released last Thursday.

In a statement issued over the weekend, De Sousa said the leaked information about the complaints was “incorrect,” and that “what occurred to [Cassella] was completely unfortunate and unfair.”

“There are no sustained complaints against him involving race, religion, sex, or any other type of discrimination,” De Sousa said.

The city’s new police commissioner, who’s set to be confirmed for his post on Feb. 21, has also asserted that the leak of the information was “illegal.” He noted today that police personnel records are protected under the Maryland Public Information Act.

Bonaparte will oversee the operations bureau, which would have been Cassella’s area, as De Sousa searches for a replacement, he said.

“The agency will continue to move forward. The delay in selection of a permanent Deputy Commissioner has no bearing on our mission to drive down violent crime.”

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Associate Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan is Baltimore Fishbowl's associate editor. He previously covered Baltimore-area news as a web producer for Fox45/WBFF-TV. Before arriving in Baltimore, he worked as an assistant editor for CQ Researcher in Washington D.C., and a reporter for Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. Look for his freelance bylines in Baltimore City Paper and DCist.
Ethan McLeod
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