Posted on April 30, 2020

Baltimore Police Major Sues, Claiming De Sousa Demoted Him Because He Was White and Didn’t Hire Chief’s Son

Jessica Anderson, Baltimore Sun, April 27, 2020

A white Baltimore Police major claims he was discriminated against and demoted by former Commissioner Darryl De Sousa because of his race and because he did not hire De Sousa’s son, a new federal lawsuit claims.

Maj. James Handley alleges that when then-Commissioner De Sousa took over the department in January 2018, he quickly made several command-level changes based on race, promoting black commanders while demoting white commanders. De Sousa is African American.

“BPD suffers from PMS — Pale, Male, Stale,” De Sousa allegedly said during a retreat for commanders in February 2018, around the time he began making several command-level changes, according to the lawsuit. De Sousa’s “admitted goal was to move and remove the ‘PMS elements’ from the Department, which necessarily included Plaintiff,” the lawsuit said.

Filed in U.S. District Court, the lawsuit seeks a minimum of $500,000 in damages, including for back pay, lost pension benefits and pain and suffering. The lawsuit is against the police department only, and does not name De Sousa or the city as defendants.

De Sousa was selected as police commissioner in early 2018 by then-Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. He resigned four months after taking the top job while being investigated for failing to file tax returns. He was convicted and sentenced to federal prison.

A police department spokeswoman declined to comment on the suit. {snip}