Thursday update: Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh expanded on Wednesday’s comments with a tweet early Thursday morning. Read more.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she has not had time to closely follow testimony in the trial of two police officers that has raised questions about how widespread corruption has spread through the Police Department.
Asked at a news conference Wednesday if she’d been following the trial, Pugh first said, “No I have not.”
“I have to run the city, I don’t have time to sit in a trial,” she said.
Asked if she’d read about the case, which has been covered extensively in the Baltimore Sun, on television and by some national media, or been briefed on it, Pugh said she hadn’t.
“I don’t even get a chance to read all the articles you write,” the mayor told a reporter. “I don’t have time to just read articles.”
But Pugh said she had heard about some of the testimony and was surprised by it.
“We do hear some of the testimony that is taking place and I think anybody … would be surprised by some of the accusations that were made,” the mayor said.
Pugh said she is confident that the process of complying with a federal civil rights decree and anti-corruption efforts by Darryl De Sousa, her new police commissioner, will be able to restore the public’s trust in the department.
“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,” Pugh said. “The majority of our Police Department go to work every day to protect the citizens of Baltimore.”
At the trial, which is scheduled to conclude Wednesday, officers who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the FBI have unspooled tales of theft and intimidation by the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force and named other officers as being involved in wrongdoing.
Asked for comment in Annapolis, a spokeswoman for Gov. Larry Hogan said “the governor has been following the case closely.”
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Baltimore Sun reporter Erin Cox contributed to this article.