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The city's police commissioner was fired Wednesday in a furor over allegations he abused his girlfriend.

Mayor Martin O'Malley said he dismissed Kevin Clark because the allegations had become a distraction from the fight against crime.

Clark, 48, went on leave while police investigated a May incident in which his girlfriend fled Clark's house and told officers standing guard outside that he had assaulted her.

She later recanted her story, and Clark said the couple "had a disagreement like any other couple would have. There was no assault at my residence."

Howard County police found insufficient grounds to bring charges.

Clark, who was a commander with the New York City Police Department before O'Malley appointed him in January 2003, told WMAR-TV that his firing was "a regrettable situation" and that he would pursue some kind of recourse. He would not elaborate.

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