Philadelphia Police Commissioner Resigns Following Scandals Over ‘Cultural Issues That Too Often Negatively Impact Women’

Written by Ann Brown
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 Mayor Jim Kenney recently announced he has accepted the  abrupt resignation of his city’s police commissioner Richard Ross following accusations of sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination within the police department under Ross’ tenure.

“Today, Commissioner Ross tendered his resignation. I am disappointed, because he’s been a terrific asset to the Police Department and the City as a whole,” said the mayor in a statement.

“New allegations of sexual harassment as well as gender and racial discrimination among the rank and file have recently been brought to my attention. 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.

While Ross is not the one who has been personally accused on the harassment or discrimination, a lawsuit claims e failed to act when there were complaints of both.

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“The move appears to stem from complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a subsequent lawsuit by two female officers, Cpl. Audra McCowan and Patrol Officer Jennifer Allen. They alleged they were subjected to “continuous and on-going” sexual harassment and discrimination from within the department,” NPR reported.

McCowan is Black and Allen is a Black Hispanic woman, according to their complaint.

“The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two female police officers, Cpl. Audra McCowan and Patrol Officer Jennifer Allen, claims Ross failed to act when handling cases of sexual harassment,” ABC News 6 reported.

One of the women claims she had an affair with Ross.

Ross had been with the Philadelphia Police Department since 1989. He was appointed Police Commissioner in January 2016. During his time on the force, he served in a number of roles, working in Patrol, Special Operations, Detective Bureau, Homicide, and Internal Affairs.

“The resignation came less than a week after Ross helped negotiate the surrender of a gunman accused of shooting six city cops during a 7½-hour standoff last Wednesday in Tioga. At a news conference days later, Kenney said Ross was the best police commissioner in the nation,” NPR reported.