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Philly Police Head Quits After Mayor Reads Lawsuit

Women say they faced harassment, discrimination
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 21, 2019 1:47 AM CDT
In this Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019 photo, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, right, speaks during a news conference as Mayor Jim Kenney looks on at City Hall in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – Philadelphia's police commissioner resigned Tuesday amid allegations that members of his department engaged in sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination against two women serving in the ranks. Mayor Jim Kenney said in a news release he was disappointed to lose Commissioner Richard Ross Jr., but in light of the new allegations, he said Ross' "resignation is in the best interest of the department," the AP reports. Kenney spokeswoman Deana Gamble said Ross offered his resignation after Kenney learned details of the allegations by the women, including one who says she once had an affair with Ross. The corporal and patrol officer made the allegations against several department employees. Gamble said Ross knew about the alleged harassment and failed to respond adequately.

An amended version of the women's federal lawsuit was filed Monday. "The mayor wanted to figure out what occurred," Gamble said. "After he read the complaint, the mayor decided to accept his resignation." Ross, who is black, joined the department in 1989 and had served as commissioner since January 2016. The lawsuit alleges discrimination, a hostile work environment, retaliation, and other counts. It says the women "have suffered continuous and ongoing sexual harassment and discrimination by both co-workers and supervisors," including groping, sexual comments, and sexual advances, and that they faced retaliation for complaining about it. The lawsuit, in which Ross and the city are among the defendants, was filed by a corporal and an officer, one black, the other black Hispanic. It claimed Ross had had a two-year relationship with one of the women that ended in 2011.

(Read more Philadelphia stories.)

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