- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, co-chair of President Obama’s task force on 21st century policing, is facing calls for his removal as the city’s mayoral race heats up.

One of the leading candidates for mayor, state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, said during a candidates’ event Tuesday that he’ll fire Commissioner Ramsey if elected because the top cop is an “impediment to building trust” with city residents.

Councilman Jim Kenney, who is leading in the polls for the Democratic mayoral nomination, hasn’t committed to keeping the police commissioner.

The Guardian Civic League, a group supporting the city’s black police officers, is calling for Commissioner Ramsey’s ouster, complaining that he’s taken steps that have led to less diversity on the police force. Commissioner Ramsey has said the difficulties in diversifying the department stem from hostile attitudes towards police in minority communities.

The police commissioner, who is black, also has been criticized in the city’s black community for supporting tactics such as “stop and frisk.”

In December, Mr. Obama tapped Commissioner Ramsey, formerly police chief in Washington, to lead the White House task force on policing in the wake of high-profile confrontations between minorities and police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere.

The task force’s mandate is “to strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”

Philadelphia’s police force is about one-third black, a level that has fallen slightly since Commissioner Ramsey took over seven years ago.

The city’s Democratic primary will be held May 19. The Democratic nominee is virtually assured of capturing the mayor’s job in November, in a city where Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans.

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