Baltimore City

What we know about the firing of Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis

Mayor Catherine Pugh fired Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis on Friday, replacing him with Deputy Commissioner Darryl D. De Sousa. Here’s a rundown of what we know:

-- Pugh said she decided to fire Davis after 2017 ended with 343 homicides, the most per-capita in city history. He learned of his firing Friday.


-- Despite Pugh’s citing violent crime as the reason for making a change, others say corruption loomed large.

-- Davis has held the job since 2015, replacing Anthony Batts, who was fired by then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake amid a surge in violence following the unrest after the death of Freddie Gray.


-- Davis’ tenure with the Baltimore Police Department was marked by several notable events. In particular, his final year was marred by corruption in the department and violence on the streets.

-- Davis’ firing comes days before the federal trial is set to begin for two of eight Gun Trace Task Force members indicted last year on federal racketeering charges. The others have already pleaded guilty.

-- De Sousa, a 30-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department who most recently was deputy commissioner in charge of the patrol bureau, becomes the city’s 40th police commissioner.

-- The City Council will need to vote to make the appointment permanent. They will likely hold a confirmation hearing in early February.

-- Turnover is common for Baltimore’s top cops. De Sousa is the eighth person to hold the job since 2000.

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-- De Sousa said he was beginning a new initiative on Friday to send out a “surplus of officers” in waves to target hot spots, major traffic corridors and “violent repeat offenders” in order to drive down violence. He didn’t provide additional details.

-- Confusion was rampant inside Baltimore police headquarters on Friday, after the department’s two other deputy commissioners had their access to headquarters cut off. However, Pugh’s office said there “hasn’t been any reorganization” in the department’s leadership, and the lack of access was due to a technical issue.

-- The decision appeared to come as a surprise to many in the Police Department.


Davis’ contract allows him to receive a $150,000 severance package if he is fired without cause. The city’s spending board approved his five-year, $200,000 annual contract in 2015.

-- Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the police union, said he supports Pugh’s selection of De Sousa, and his appointment could help improve low police morale.

-- The earliest a City Council panel could hold a confirmation hearing on De Sousa’s appointment is likely the week of Feb. 5. The full council would then vote on the confirmation.