Baltimore mayor's new spokesman resigns hours after starting job

A former Baltimore police officer hired as the mayor's spokesman resigned from the position Wednesday, hours after he was formally introduced to reporters at City Hall.

Darryl Strange stepped down after the Baltimore Sun newspaper inquired about three lawsuits during his five-year tenure on the city's police force.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said in a statement that she had accepted Strange's resignation and claimed he was still being vetted when she announced his hiring Wednesday morning.

"As for anyone who applies to work at City Hall and particularly in a senior role, there is an extensive vetting process that takes time to complete," Pugh said in the statement, according to the Sun. "This process was still underway for Mr. Strange, who having worked as a senior communications officer in government, began in the communications department here at City Hall this past Monday."

"I want to thank the Mayor for the opportunity to serve as her Press Secretary," Strange wrote the Sun in an email moments before his resignation was announced. "At this time I do not want to be a distraction to the administration and have had this conversation with the Mayor. I will never regret the time I spent in the police department."

The Sun reported that the lawsuits cost taxpayers approximately $80,000. One lawsuit accused Strange of wrongdoing during a 2008 traffic stop, but was later dismissed.

That same year, a city judge awarded $12,000 to a woman who claimed that Strange crashed his squad car into her vehicle, but the woman later dropped her claim against Strange when the judge ordered the city to pay the money.

In 2010, Baltimore's spending board approved a $67,500 settlement to the owner of a check-cashing store who claimed Strange and another officer had wrongly arrested him.

According to the Sun, Strange left the police department in May 2011 and was a spokesman for Maryland's social services agency in Baltimore.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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