- Excessive Force
- Destruction of Evidence
- Witness Tampering
1990, De Sousa chased down a dirt biker who he claimed had a warrant. The chase resulted in a tense clash that caused the subsequent gathering of a crowd of more than 100 protesting the encounter. The Baltimore Sun referred to it as “a melee” between residents and police.
In 1995, De Sousa was involved in three fatal police shootings. As part of a mounted unit, De Sousa shot and killed 26-year-old Garrett “Scooter” Jackson in February, firing 16 times and hitting Jackson 10 times – 3 times in the back. The shooting was a high profile case. Community organizers challenged De Sousa’s and the BPD’s version of the events which claimed Jackson aimed a gun at police. Witnesses claim that not only did Jackson did not fire a shot but also he didn’t even have a gun. Jackson’s brother Reginald sued De Sousa for $500,000.
In December that year, De Sousa, as part of a plainclothes unit known as the Violent Crimes Task Force, was involved in the pursuit of George Thomas Jr. De Sousa and two other officers shot and killed Thomas Jr. after, they claim, he fired at them. A total of 50 shots were fired by De Sousa and other officers, Willis Richardson and Kevin Ruth. In the midst of the shooting, bullets ricocheted off of a wall and struck bystander Melvin James in the head. James was 18 years old. James’ family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit for $1 million against De Sousa and the other officers.
In 2011, De Sousa became Major, Commanding Officer of the Northeast District. Not only was this district the “stomping grounds”, as one reporter put it, of the Gun Trace Task Force, but it was also the home of Nicholas David Chapman, Jorge Omar Bernardez-Ruiz, and Nathan Ulmer – the 3 repeat offender cops that would go on to brutalize Abdul Salaam, harass Darrell Harris, and kill Tyrone West in the summer of 2013. All 3 officers served in the NE District during De Sousa’s tenure.
Source: Baltimore Brew
Within days of becoming Commissioner Designate, De Sousa announced Thomas Cassella (former cop, then head of security at Horseshoe Casino) as a new Deputy Commissioner, but a leaked memo about his Internal Affairs file called that into question. Cassella also had ties to GTTF. He was never appointed.
Many demanded that De Sousa live up to his transparency claims by releasing his Internal Affairs file, especially after accusations of sexual misconduct spread. He never released his file.
De Sousa would ultimately be suspended in May 2018 due to being the subject of a federal investigation involving 3 misdemeanor counts of failure to file taxes. The investigation has been led in part by the same investigators involved in the GTTF investigation. In addition to the 3 charges, reports have come out stating that the investigation also involves “the destruction of evidence and possible witness tampering”.
De Sousa resigned on May 15, 2018.