“I don’t have time to just read articles,” Mayor Catherine Pugh said this morning at her weekly press briefing, referring to coverage of the now-nationally notorious Baltimore police corruption trial.
In her briefing room at City Hall, Pugh said she has not been following testimony from the trial. The case has included bombshell allegations, including that the late Det. Sean Suiter, who was fatally shot on the job with his own gun in November, helped one officer who already pleaded guilty steal money; that the task force’s leader sold heaps of prescription pills that were looted during the Uprising in 2015; that officers kept replica guns to plant on suspects in case of an officer-involved shooting; and that numerous other officers who were not indicted in the case participated in some form in the racketeering scheme, among other allegations.
“I have a long schedule, I don’t have time to sit in a trial,” Pugh said initially, when asked if she was following the case. She later added, “We do hear some of the testimony that’s taking place, and I think as anybody is, we in our community would be surprised by some of the accusations that have been made, some of the testimony that’s been had.”
The Sun’s Justin Fenton, who’s been on top of the trial since it began Jan. 23, was somewhat surprised.
tfw you read the mayor hasn’t been briefed on the trial exposing the biggest scandal in department history that you’ve been covering every day for 3 weeks pic.twitter.com/aYtnqCvuam
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) February 7, 2018
The mayor expressed full faith in both the consent decree that took effect last spring, mandating a slew of reforms for the department, and her new police commissioner-designate, Darryl DeSousa, who’s set to be confirmed for Kevin Davis’ old job later this month.
DeSousa has promised a reorganization of the department–details are forthcoming next week, Pugh said today–and has formed has formed the new Corruption Investigation Unit for the explicit purpose of probing allegations from the Gun Trace Task Force case.
DeSousa has called the officers tied to the racketeering scandal represent “a few bad apples,” an argument that Pugh is sticking with.
“The reason we have a consent decree is because of some of the activities that have been portrayed by a few members of our police department,” she said. “The majority of our police department is working everyday to protect the citizens of Baltimore.”
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