Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross abruptly stepped down on Tuesday, the city’s mayor Jim Kenney announced in a press release. Kenney said Ross’ resignation stemmed from allegations of gender and racial discrimination within the department, but noted that no such allegations were directed at the commissioner himself. “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 said. “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.” Adding that he believes “new leadership will help us continue to reform the Department and show that racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination simply will not be tolerated.”
Ross was thrust onto the national stage less than a week ago when a gunman engaged Philadelphia police in a standoff for nearly 8 hours, with two officers trapped inside a home with him. The commissioner was on the scene wearing a bullet proof vest, and reportedly helped negotiate the shooter’s eventual surrender.