City: Philadelphia police head quits over bias in department

Pennsylvania

Some claim Richard Ross knew about the alleged allegations in the Philadelphia Police Department

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross speak during a news conference in Philadelphia, Thursday, July 18, 2019. The Philadelphia Police Department is suspending 13 police officers with an intent to fire them following an investigation into offensive and sometimes threatening Facebook posts. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The police commissioner of Philadelphia is resigning over new allegations of sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination against others in the department, the mayor announced Tuesday.

Commissioner Richard Ross has been a terrific asset to the police department and the city, Mayor Jim Kenney said in a news release, and he’s disappointed to lose him. But in light of the new allegations, Ross’ “resignation is in the best interest of the department.”

There were scant details about the allegations against others in the department, but Kenney spokeswoman Deana Gamble told The Philadelphia Inquirer that a corporal and patrol officer made allegations against several department employees and claimed Ross knew about the alleged harassment.

Kenney’s statement referred to a sexual harassment prevention policy and efforts to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment that were implemented a year ago.

“While rolling out a new policy understandably takes time, I do not believe the Police Department has taken the necessary actions to address the underlying cultural issues that too often negatively impact women — especially women of color,” Kenney said.

Ross, who is black and joined the department in 1989, has served as commissioner since January 2016. He did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The mayor said an unspecified independent entity will investigate the recent allegations and recommend how to address discrimination and harassment within the police agency.

Just last week, Kenney called Ross the best police commissioner in America after a gunman’s long standoff with police.

Kenney named Deputy Commissioner Christine Coulter to serve as acting commissioner during a search for Ross’ replacement.

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