Last week Baltimore Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa made a brief speech to say he's sorry about how police have treated black communities since the nation's founding ("Baltimore police chief apologizes for 200 years of policing at Eric B & Rakim show, gets frosty reception," April 19). The police commissioner said: "I want to take about 20 seconds to apologize for all the things the police have done dating back 200 years. Two hundred years ago all the way to civil rights. All the way to the '80s where crack was prevalent in the cities and it affected disproportionately African-American men. All the way to the '90s. All the way to the 2000s when we had zero tolerance."
He continued: "I want to take the time to apologize for what policing did and I promise you we're going to make a change in the future."
Commissioner De Sousa had no need and, in fact, no right to "apologize" for me or my 36 years of service to the department from which I retired at the rank of major (1970-2006) and to the city I once loved. Those remarks and that lame "apology" are offensive, and as of this moment, I'm almost ashamed to be associated with what has become of my beloved police department. I served the once-proud Baltimore City Police Department and the city of Baltimore and its "black communities" with distinction for most of my adult life, and he has by way of his remarks attempted to demean that service.
In doing so, Commissioner De Sousa has demeaned himself, which, of course, he had every right to do, but he did not have the right to demean me, my contemporaries, or my department. Mr. De Sousa, you sir, and your remarks are a disgrace.You should be apologizing to the Baltimore City Police Department, not for the department.