By Frederick H. Lowe
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr., who suspended cops who posted racist comments on Facebook, was brought down because of allegations of sexual harassment, gender and racial discrimination within the department.
Ross, who was named superintendent of the nation’s fourth largest police department on January 5, 2016, resigned August 20, 2019.
“New allegations of sexual harassment as well as gender and racial discrimination among the rank and file have recently been brought to my attention,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny. “While those allegations do not accuse Commissioner Ross of harassment. I do ultimately believe his resignation is in the best interest of the Department.”
Kenney added: “Last summer, the City implemented a new sexual harassment prevention policy and a series of internal reforms designed to prevent workplace discrimination and harassment throughout the government. 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. “
Mayor Kenney named Christine M. Coulter, deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, acting commissioner while city officials search for Ross’s permanent replacement.
Under Ross’s leadership, he assigned 72 cops to desk duty because of their racist posts on Facebook, which took courage on Ross’s part. Thirteen cops faced dismissal because of the posts and seven resigned. The Plainview Project, which is based in Philadelphia, first published the racist comments of former and current cops online.