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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Abruptly Resigns Amid Handling of Allegations
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 08/20/19 8:08 pm | updated: 08/20/19 9:57 pm
 
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. abruptly resigned on Tuesday, 8/20, following new allegations of sexual harassment and gender and racial discrimination among the rank and file. Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, "While those allegations do not accuse Commissioner Ross of harassment, I do ultimately believe his resignation is in the best interest of the Department." He also said, "I am disappointed, because he's been a terrific asset to the Police Department and the City as a whole." Ross joined the force in 1989 and has worked his way up the ladder. He became Commissioner in 2016. Deputy Commissioner Christine Coulter will act as acting commissioner during a search for a new one. Just last week after the shooting in North Philadelphia that left six officers wounded by gun fire, Kenny called Ross "the best police commissioner in America."

UPDATE: Ross was named in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint and subsequent lawsuit filed by Cpl. Audra McCowan and Patrol Officer Jennifer Allen. That lawsuit was amended on Monday, 8/19. McCowan claims in the suit that Ross ignored her complaints of sexual harassment by another officer because she had broken off an affair the two had years ago. See full lawsuit below.

Relevant Portion of Lawsuit

126. In early- to mid-February 2019, Ms. McCowan texted and called Commissioner Ross on his personal cell phone to inform him that she had been experiencing sexual harassment and a hostile work environment in the DVIC, and that she had been punished
for reporting same.

127. Commissioner Ross asked, "Who is it against?" Ms. McCowan responded, "P/O Curtis Younger." Commissioner Ross declined to act on her report, and instead suggested, "So why don't you just order his dumb ass to go sit down and get out of your face 'Officer.'" Ms. McCowan responded, "Think about how you would feel if it was your daughter. Would it matter if it was someone that works for her or not If she told the person to repeatedly stop, that doesn't matter?" Commissioner Ross stated, "I know you don't like for me to be straight with you, largely because 'two rams always seem to butt heads' ... but I want to offer you some sage advice as a friend." Ms. McCowan asked Commissioner Ross to share his advice and he responded, "No, not the time based on your frame of mind."

128. During these conversations, Commissioner Ross also stated he was going to "school" Ms. McCowan on sexual harassment and indicated that he continues to be upset with her and was getting in the way of redressing her complaints in retribution for her breaking off their two-year affair, which lasted from 2009 to 2011.

Full Statement from Office of the Mayor:

Mayor Announces Resignation of PPD Commissioner Richard Ross Jr.

PHILADELPHIA - Mayor Jim Kenney today accepted the resignation of Police Commissioner Richard Ross, Jr. Mayor Kenney said, "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.

"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.

"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. I will be enlisting the help of an independent firm to investigate the recent allegations and to make recommendations to overcome some of the discrimination and harassment within the Department.

"I am grateful for Commissioner Ross' many years of dedicated service to our City, and the many reforms he brought to the Department. However, I believe new leadership will help us continue to reform the Department and show that racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination simply will not be tolerated."

Ross started with the Philadelphia Police Department in 1989 and was appointed Police Commissioner in January 2016. He served in a number of roles, working in Patrol, Special Operations, Detective Bureau, Homicide, and Internal Affairs.

Mayor Kenney has named Christine M. Coulter, Deputy Commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department as Acting-Commissioner while a search is underway for Ross' replacement.

"Deputy Coulter is an experienced police commander with nearly 30 years of law enforcement service," said Mayor Kenney. "She has diverse experience in patrol operations, narcotics intelligence, and investigations. I have full faith in her ability to lead the Department during this time of transition."

Deputy Commissioner Christine Coulter is a three-star Deputy in the Philadelphia Police Department and most recently served as Deputy Commissioner of Organizational Services. In that position she is responsible for professional support services that enable officers and commanders in the field to have the training, equipment, and support personnel that is needed to prevent, combat, and solve crime in Philadelphia. She also oversees development of the Department's use of technology as a tool in community-engaged policing and smart policing.

She holds a Master of Science in Public Safety Management from Saint Joseph's University, a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management from Eastern University, and an Associate degree in Criminal Justice from the Community College of Philadelphia. She is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. She is a faculty member in the graduate program of Public Safety at Saint Joseph's University's Institute of Criminal Justice and Public Safety Administration. In this post she teaches classes such as Sociology of Disaster, Risk Assessment. and Disaster Planning.

Ross' resignation is effective today, August 20, 2019.

 
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(1) response

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 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 08/20 9:57 pm
 
Read lawsuit filed by Cpl. Audra McCowan and Patrol Officer Jennifer Allen

 

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