Police Commissioner Richard Ross “resigned” on Tuesday, according to an announcement from Mayor Jim Kenney’s office. Ross left voluntarily in the same way prisoners on a pirate ship walk the plank voluntarily.
Update: After publication of this, it was learned Ross was accused in a law suit of not acting acting to stop the sexual harassment of a female police officer, a former girl friend of Ross’.
He leaves the department after supervising the successful takedown of a gunman who had wounded six Philly cops. Ross was widely praised for smarts and restraint after the ordeal and Kenney called him the best police commissioner in the nation. That was then.
A 30-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, the handsome, smooth, up-from-the-ranks African-American was a natural choice for Kenney, but that was not a two-way street. Ross suffered from an overdose of blue and a deficit of progressive thought.
It first became obvious in the Starbucks fiasco when two uniformed officers, following the request of the manager, removed two non-paying customers from the shop. They followed standard procedure and were blameless, Ross said.
Then our race-crazed mayor blew his top and the embarrassed commissioner had to eat his words.
The mayor appointed the police commissioner, but Kenney has far more in common with District Attorney Larry Krasner, who ran for office on a platform of restorative justice, with a thick anti-cop veneer. As a defense attorney, Krasner had many run-ins with cops, some of whom — let’s face it — were dirty.
Philly cops have a long history of bad, brutal, criminal and bigoted behavior. It hit its zenith under Commissioner Frank Rizzo many believe, but bad behavior has been baked in the cake under every commissioner, up to Ross. No commissioner has been fired by the mayor who hired him, in my memory. Ross is the first.
As an appointee, Ross had to dance to the tune Kenney played. You could practically see Ross grind his teeth when Krasner disparaged cops and prosecutors he neither liked nor respected.
When U.S. Attorney William McSwain attacked Krasner for creating disrespect for cops, I imagined Ross thinking, “Go get him, Bill!”
Of course I don’t know that to be a fact.
I also don’t know that Kenney was pissed that Ross did not organize a witch hunt to scourge his department of anyone in the 300 who might have posted anything questionable on social media.
I don’t know that, but I believe that.
I had a casual friendship with Ross before he was made commissioner. I found him smart, down to earth, and realistic about cops, criminals and life on the street.
What he had yet to learn was politics and political correctness. He now has.
Once things settle down, I hope Ross comes out with his version of events, and talks about trying to run a department with K&K — Kenney and Krasner — sticking their fingers in.
I won’t get my hopes up because Ross will undoubtedly be offered a big private sector job, or perhaps another commissioner’s cap.
Maybe Republican mayoral candidate Bill Ciancaglini will breathe some life into his campaign by promising to re-appoint Ross, who may remain silent.
Sometimes it’s best to keep thoughts about previous bosses to yourself. I know of what I speak.